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STAFF RIDES 

AND 

REGIMENTAL TOURS 



7NE UNIVERSITY OF W\C;H\^W^\>8^V.\S^5. 



STAFF RIDES 

AND 

EEGIMENTAL TOURS 



'I 

Colonel nfc. B. HAKING 



LONDON 

HUGH REES, LIMITED 

119 PALL MALL, S.W. 
1908 



,\wc 



I 

AU rights reserved 



STAFF RIDES 

AND 

REGIMENTAL TOURS 



m UNIVERSITY OF W\W\>^l^V!^V.\^^ 



PREFACE 

The methods of conducting Staff Rides and Regimental 
Tours described in this book have been derived 'from 
considerable experience in such forms of exercises, both 
from the point of view of the instructor and the 
instructed. 

If any passages in the book appear to be didactic, the 
reader is requested to interpret " must '" and " shall ^ to 
mean that no better method has yet been invented. The 
author does not wish to convey the impression that these 
methods are the best, because there is little doubt that 
the light of further experience will disclose many possibilities 
for improvement in the detail of the work. The main 
principles, however, will vary but little, and it is hoped 
that the suggestions put forward will be of service both to 
the officers who attend Staff Rides or Regimental Toui*s 
for purposes of instruction and to those who are called 
upon to direct them. 

The scope of the book is limited to comparatively small 
Staff Rides, such as are held in '* Commands,"" Divisions ^.nd 
Brigades, to Regimental Tours, and to other Regimental 
Exercises on the ground. Larger Staff Rides, or those 
where Naval and Military Officers cany out combined 
operations, are dealt with very briefly, partly because they 
are conducted on similar lines to those mentioned above, and 
partly because they are invariably conducted by the higher 
military authorities of the army. 



viii PREFACE 

The author has obtained his knowledge from pei*sonal 
acquaintance with so many Officers during the last twelve 
years that it is impossible to mention all those whose ideas 
may appear in the book. Briefly it may be stated that any 
credit which may accrue to the book is due to the Staff 
College and to its many distinguished Officers, both on the 
directing Staff and amongst the students, whom it has 
been the good fortune of the author to serve with for 
several years. 

Care has been taken to explain the small details which 
require attention in order to ensure success, so that any 
one who has had no previous experience of conducting or 
taking part in these forms of instruction may avoid certain 
pitfalls and readily acquire sufficient knowledge of the 
subject. For this treason it is hoped that the book may 
prove useful to officers of the Territorial Army and of the 
Imperial Forces beyond the seas, as well as to those of the 
Regular Army. 

R. H. 

BULFOBD, 1908. 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. Training of Officers for War ... 1 

II. Preliminary Arrangements for a Staff Ride 18 

III. The Preparation of the Scheme ... 42 

IV^ The Preparation of the Scheme — continued. 
Examples of Detachments which can 

form the Basis for the Scheme . 53 

V. The Preparation of the Scheme — continued. 
The Elaboration of the General and 

Special Ideas .... 96 

VI. A Summary of the Steps to be Taken in the 
Preparation of the Scheme, extracted 
FROM Chapters III. to V., with some 
Additions 132 

VII. The Preparation of Schemes taken direct 

FROM History 147 

VIII. Method of Directing a Staff Ride . .166 

IX. Staff Rides when only One Side is Repre- 
sented BY A Party of Officers . . ]88 

X. Staff Rides for Practising Operations against 

Semi-civilisbd or Savage Tribes . .196 



X CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XI. Examples " of Strategical, Tactical, and 
Administrative Problems, suitable for 
Staff Rides, and a Consideration of the 
Instructions which should be given to 
Reconnoitring Officers .... 223 

XII. The Method of Preparing Narratives of the 

Operations 251 

XIII. Suggestions for Criticising Work and for 

Conducting Conferences .... 26*2 

XIV. Notes on the Work Done by Officers during 

A Staff Ride 

A. A Study of how to Write an 
Appreciation of a Situation . .274 

XV. Notes on the Work Done by Officers during 
A Staff Ride — continued 

B. Orders and Instructions . . 292 

XVI. Notes on the Work Done by Officers during 
A Staff Ride — continued 

C. Reports of all kinds, especially 
Reconnaissance Reports . .306 
Under the sub-headings : — 

(1) Security. . . .309 

(2) Attack . . . . 318 

(3) Defence .... 324 

(4) Administration . .337 

D. Sketches 343 

E. Diagrams and Graphics . .346 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAP. PAGE 

XVII. Regimental Tours ...... 357 

XVIII. Suggestions for conducting Tactical Exer 

CISES ON THE GrOUND, DURING A StAFF 

Ride^ a Regimental Tour, or as a single 

Exercise 373 

Under the sub-headings : — 

A. Outposts . , . . . 385 

B. The Action of an Advanced Guard 391 

C. The Action of a Rear Guard . . 403 

D. The Attack . , . .410 
£, The Defence . . 422 

XIX. Tactical Exercises on the Ground — continued 

A. Exercises for Cavalry Officers only 438 

B, Exercises for Artillery Officers only 448 

XX. Two Examples of a "One-day" Exercise, 
worked out near the quarters of the 
Officers who took part in it . . 454 

XXI. The Method of Conducting a '^War Course" 

for Regimental Officers . . 489 



IJST OF SKETCHES 



The Sketches are placed in a pocket at the end of the book. Sketch 
No. 1 contains, on the reverse, the Diagram and Graphic referred to in 
Chapter XVI, p. 350. The other Sketches are printed in a small pamphlet, 
Sketch No. 23 occupying the whole of the outside cover. The remainder, 
from No. 2 to No. 22, are arranged in proper sequence, commencing on the 
second page of the pamphlet. The locality shown on each Sketch, the 
Chapter, and, when necessary, the page where it is referred to are indicated 
below. 

No. of Sketch Locality 

1. (Face) Ireland, country round the Galty Mts. 



{Reverse) Diagram and Graphic 



Chapter 
V, IX, XI, XVII, 

XVIIl, 393 
XVI, 350 



5. 

6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 
10. 
11. 
12. 
18. 
14. 
15. 



16. 
17. 
18. 
19. 

20. 
21. 
22. 
23. 



England, South IV, 55 

India, N.W. Provinces, etc. . . IV, 58 
India, Quetta District . . .IV, 60 

England, Tewkesbury and Gloucester IV, 62 

S. Africa, country round Bloemfontein IV, 64 

France, Eastern portion . . . IV, 66 

England, North IV, 68 



S. Africa, country round Ladysmith 
Austria, Middle Danube . 
America, Shenandoah Valley 
England, Middle Thames . 
Turkey, Balkan Mts. . 
Germany, country round Jena . 
Ireland, Leinster and Munster . 



America, Virginia ; India, S.B. . 
S. Africa, Cape Colony, Cape Town 
To illustrate a strategical situation 
Turkey S. of the Danube . 
Ireland E. of the Shannon . 
Appreciation of a situation 

North Wales X, 199 

England, country N. of Plymouth . XX, 460 
England, country N.W. of Plymouth XX, 473 



IV, 70 

IV, 72 

IV, 74, VII, 148 

IV, 75 

IV, 76 

IV, 77 

IV, 92. V, VI, 

150, IX, 190, etc. 

XI, 231, etc. 

XVII, xvrii 

IV, 84 

IV, 88 

V, 96, VI, 139 
IV, 71, 76 
VII, 152, etc. 
XIV, 277 



STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL 
TOURS 

CHAPTER I 

THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 

There are four methods of imparting military instruction 
to officers, and their value may be indicated in the follow- 
ing order : 

1. Practical experience in front of the enemy in war. 

2. Practical experience on the ground with troops in 
peace. 

3. Practical instruction on the ground without troops in 
peace. 

4. Theoretical teaching from books or instructors 
indoors. 

Every one of these is essential for the creation of efficient 
commanders, staff officers, and regimental officers in war. 
It is the object of this volume to deal with the third form 
of instmction noted above, and to show how the fullest 
value can be obtained from the fourth method by means of 
the third. 

Officers are apt to regard everything they read or leam 
from books as theory, and everything they do with troops 
either in peace or war as practice. There is no objection 
to this aspect of the matter, provided due value is attached 
to the theory. It should be remembered always that what 



2 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

is written in such books as "Combined Training ^^ is 
intended to help officers when they meet the enemy, and 
not merely to assist them in passing examinations for pro- 
motion. The sternest examiner, and the most difficult to 
please, is war ; so that officers when studying their pro- 
fession should endeavour to qualify themselves for success 
in the great examination of war. If they do this they will 
find little difficulty in passing their examinations in peace 
time. 

There has been in the past a good deal of prejudice 
against " book learning,^ and the reason for this is partly 
due to our previous experience in war, where the bold, 
dashing leader, who may not have been highly educated, 
always came more prominently to notice than others, who 
may have carefully studied their profession, but who did 
not possess these qualities to such a marked degree, or 
who, if they did, had no opportunity of showing them. 
Many of these latter officers had taken high places in the 
numerous examinations they had been called upon to pass, 
but war requires not only education, but also great deter- 
mination of character. In our small wars no great educa- 
tion is required to enable officers to do their duty and 
pass muster, but in a great campaign education is almost 
as necessary as determination of character. 

Prior to the South African War there is little doubt that 
education was looked down upon. Officers quite rightly 
gained advancement in proportion to the number of 
campaigns they were able to take part in, and by their 
brilliant action in front of the enemy. There was in 
consequence little inducement for officers to pass difficult 
examinations, and furthermore the examinations themselves, 
and the courses of instruction preceding them, were not 
always of a very practical nature. One of the most 
important branches of military education appeared to be 
Topography, though it is difficult to understand why 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 3 

so much value was attached to it for so long a period, 
unless perhaps because it taught officers a knowledge of 
ground, but this could be taught more effectively by 
exercising them in the solution of tactical problems on the 
ground. 

Another reason for the disparagement of ''book learning"^ 
is that there always appears to be some unreality about 
what is written in a book, especially a book on military 
subjects, since the lessons it contains are not brought home 
to the reader in the same manner as lessons learnt on the 
ground. We find that though officers can learn the prin- 
ciples of war from books, and can even write excellent books 
on the subject, they are not always able to apply these 
principles when they find the enemy in front of them. The 
teaching of books is then forgotten, and the officer or 
soldier only remembers what he has learnt and con- 
stantly practised on the drill ground, at training, or at 
manoeuvres. 

It should be remembered that the experience of one 
individual, even in war, is very limited, and that if we hope 
to master our profession and become able commanders, we 
must have recourse to books. The matter contained in 
some of these books has been carefully thought out by the 
greatest authorities on war, as is the case with our drill 
books, or " Combined Training.*" Other books may con- 
tain the theories and opinions of only one author, but 
these have been arrived at by a careful study of the sub- 
ject, or by practical experience, and in consequence are 
worth our close attention. But however good the books 
may be, the soldier does not appear to gain full value from 
them unless he has had opportunities of practising on the 
ground the theories and instructions they contain. 

Belief in the truth and efficacy of what we learn from 
books is also essential, otherwise we shall forget it, or fail 
to apply it, when we find the enemy in front of us. To 



4 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

gain belief in what we leani, it is essential for us to prac- 
tise the lessons in peace time, and find out for ourselves 
that what is taught will be really useful to us in war, and 
is not mere theory. We can only do this by applying the 
lessons to a definite situation in a peace exercise on the 
ground. 

There appear to be three stages of instruction in the art 
of war. 

First, we must learn the principles of strategy, tactics, 
and administration. That is comparatively easy ; we can 
learn them from a book, or get some one to teach us. 
Many of us stop at this first stage, and think that we have 
learnt the whole art of war. 

Secondly, we must learn to apply these principles to 
definite situations, on a map for strategy, on the ground 
for tactics, and by working out problems in administra- 
tion. This is not so easy: we want good practical in- 
structors to teach us, men who have both seen and studied 
war, and who will deal with the problems that arise in a 
sound, common-sense manner. We also require the oppor- 
tunity and the ground. Opportunity comes to the man 
who makes it, and with a little trouble suitable ground can 
be found for the instruction of small parties of officers or 
non-commissioned officers without trespassing on private 
land. 

Thirdly, as already stated, we must believe in the truth 
of what we learn, or we shall not apply our knowledge to 
defeat the enemy ; and if we do not do this our knowledge 
of the art of war is useless, and the time we have devoted 
to its study is thrown away. When we find ourselves in 
difficulties on service we shall not profit by the experience 
of others, and overcome those difficulties in the determined 
and able manner of many brilliant officers who have led 
troops in the past. 

The British officer has sometimes failed in war because 



I' THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 5 

lie has been afraid^ not of the eutjniy or of being shot, but 
of doinff ike wivng- thm^. The result has been that hti 
has done little or nothing, and has allowed the enemy to 
do what he pleaseis. He has allowed the eneinj to isur- 
romid his force or gain some important ground in the 
vicinity, and then perhaps a regrettable incident has 
followed. There is no more effective way of overcoming 
this fear of doing the wrong thing than by constantly 

■ working out small tactical problems on the ground. 
It is sometimes said that too great a sti-aiu is placed on 
the imagination of officers at these peac^e exercises v^^ithout 
troops ; al^o that the British officer as a class is peculiarly 
unimiiginative^ The truth of these statements is doubtful, 
bnt even if we at*cept thein there is nothing to pi^event us 
from endeavouring to remedy the defect* With a little 
care all subjects w^hich requii-e too great a stretch of the 
imagination can be eliminated, and w^ith a little trouble 
the mind of the most uninuiginative officer can be trained 
sufficiently to enable him to gain much practical value 
from this form of instruction* 

We cannot practise befoi-ehand every situation w^hich 
will arise in war, because situations are so numerous and 
change so rapidly that it is out of the question- We can 
practise, however, those which most commonly arise, and 
we shall find that the situations do not vary so extensively 
ajs the ground. The details of an attack, of a defensive 
position, or of outposts are umch the same for the small 
units of an army under all conditions of wai\ We know 
when we are attacking that we must send a few scouts 
^ftahead during the early stage of the operation, that later 
^■we must deploy a weak firing hue which will endeavour to 
gain giound to the IVontj but will soon i^equire reinforce- 
ment, until finally the attacking line contains as many men 
,^ can use their rifles with effect. We know that during 
11 this time the artillery must be helping the infantry, 




6 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

and that the cavalry must be guarding the flanks. What 
we wish to learn is how all these operations can be carried 
out under varying conditions of ground. We cannot 
learn this from books ; we must go to the ground to 
practise it. 

In war we may have to attack across an open plain, 
move through thick woods or country enclosed with fences, 
cross a difficult obstacle such as a swampy stream or a 
river, or climb a precipitous hill. Many other conditions 
of ground present themselves, and each one has to be 
treated in a somewhat different manner. That is to say, 
the companies, squadrons, and batteries must move and 
fight in a different manner in order to gain the greatest 
advantage from each type of ground. The officer com- 
manding these small units has to look at the ground 
before he moves his men either for attack, defence, out- 
posts, or for a bivouac ; and in these peace exercises we can 
assume a definite situation and study the ground for a 
particular object, even though the soldiers are not actually 
present, without unduly exercising our imaginations. 

In modem war it is far more important than it has 
ever been in the past for junior officers to be highly 
trained. In the old days companies, battalions, brigades, 
and even divisions went into battle in close order side by 
side, or one behind the other. The General in chief com- 
mand was able to conduct the operations even of the firing 
line, and orders could be conveyed rapidly to every part 
of the field. Under modem conditions of war the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, by bold and skilful strategy, can bring 
his army into battle under favourable circumstances to 
himself and under unfavourable circumstances for the 
enemy, by skilful tactics he can prepare a blow against 
the enemy's weakest point, but it is the company com- 
mander, assisted by the battery and squadron leaders, who 
must deliver that blow. It is these subordinate officers 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 7 

who to a great extent will win the battle, and it is of vital 
importance, therefore, that they should be highly trained, 
so that they will know at all times what to do, and will 
be prepared to do it without waiting for instructions. 

It should be remembered that the battles of the Franco- 
German War were won mainly by the highly trained 
German captains. The strategy was good, but the sub- 
ordinate Generals, though they showed great initiative and 
determination, did not display great tactical skill when bring- 
ing their troops into battle. The company commanders, 
however, by their bold and skilful leading, always press- 
ing forward, always taking advantage of ground, and 
helping each other, assisted by the close co-operation of 
the artillery, were the chief cause of the German success. 
In Manchuria we learn the same lesson : the stubborn 
defence of the Russian captains, and the brilliant attacks 
of the Japanese company leaders, had quite as much effect 
on the campaign as the higher direction. It also appears 
that the battles were won by the successful attack of a 
comparatively small portion of the army that was engaged, 
and this fact accentuates the necessity for subordinate 
commanders to be men of great determination and highly 
trained in the art of war. 

It seems so easy for a General with a large force under 
his command to know what to do and how to fight the 
battle^ but it is so difficult for the company commander in 
the front line of battle, with the air full of bullets and 
shells, and with no one to help him, to know what is the 
right course to follow. The only way he can learn is to 
study such books as " Combined Training " in peace time, 
and apply the lessons so obtained to different situations on 
the ground, either with or without troops, and realise that 
by the success or failure of his own personal exertions the 
battle will be won or lost. 

It has been found by experience at the Staff College and 



« STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

elsewhere that officers learn more rapidly, and remember 
what they learn more easily, by means of a Staff Ride, or a 
Tactical Exercise on the ground, than by any other form of 
instruction. These exercises were first made use of in the 
British Army as a means for instructing officers at the Staff 
College in the correct way of applying the principles of 
strategy and tactics to a definite situation presented by a 
scheme, and also for teaching them the proper method of 
reconnoitring ground for strategical, tactical, and adminis- 
trative purposes. When Staff Rides were first introduced 
the officers were left a good deal to themselves when work- 
ing out these details on the ground. They did a vast 
amount of reconnaissance and made numerous reports, but 
the instructing staff, who were very limited in number, had 
no time to deal adequately with the work, and could do 
little more than glance through the reports and make 
a few comments at the end. Their work was returned 
to the officers several days, and sometimes several weeks, 
after the conclusion of the exercise, when, owing to 
press of other work, they had forgotten or lost interest 
in it. 

It was soon realised that this method of instruction could 
be greatly improved upon. First it was apparent that the 
exercise approached the nature of an examination rather 
than a course of instruction, that errors made one day were 
repeated on the next and following days, and that officers 
got into a way of writing a sort of sealed pattern report to 
suit the nature of the work in hand, without sufficient 
reference to the peculiar requirements of the situation or 
of the ground. 

A great improvement occurred when it was recognised 
that the work done each day by an officer must be carefully 
studied and commented upon by the instructor the same 
day, and must also form the subject for discussion at the 
evening conference. By this means far more instruction 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 9 

could be imparted and the exercise became less of an 
examination, because the instructor, if he disagreed with 
the officer, was compelled to give his reasons. The officer 
also had an opportunity of putting forward his own views, 
and much useful discussion followed. The good arrange- 
ments and suggestions made by some officers and the 
mistakes made by others could be brought to the notice of 
all when the facts of the case were fresh in their minds. 
This required an increased staff of instructors at the Staff 
College, and it was finally realised that, even with expert 
instructors working continuously during a Staff Ride from 
7 A.M. till after midnight, it was impossible to deal effec- 
tively with the work of more than eight officers, and at the 
same time provide the officers under instruction with suffi- 
cient work to do. 

The next improvement was in the method of preparing 
the scheme for a Staff Ride. Formerly they were evolved 
entirely from the brain of the instructor. The British 
Fleet was sent conveniently to the bottom of the sea, 
hostile army corps landed with extraordinary rapidity on 
open beaches regardless of the weather, the coast defences 
of England were captured by an infantry attack after a few 
houi-s' fighting, and in fact the scheme was sometimes so 
unreal that a good deal of interest was lost in the solution 
of the problem. 

Most authorities are now agreed that, as a general rule, 
the best method of preparing a scheme is to take a situa- 
tion complete from some campaign in history, and transfer 
the scene of operations to the desired locality in England, 
India, &c. The troops on each side are then placed in a 
similar position to that which they occupied in the real 
campaign, and the operations are then commenced or con- 
tinued as the case requires. The advantage of this system, 
apart from its reality, is that the scheme is untrammelled 
with questions regarding the cause of the war, the defeat 



10 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

of the fleet, the landing of the army, and many other diffi- 
culties which will be noted later. The officers taking part 
in the Staff* Ride find themselves in the same strategical 
position as those who took part in the real campaign from 
which the scheme was taken. The only variation lies in 
the features of the country, which, of course, are necessarily 
different from those in the real campaign. This difference, 
however, is a distinct advantage, because, when studying 
military history, we frequently find the same situations 
arising; but, owing to the features of the country, the 
improvements in arms, or other causes, they have to be 
dealt with in an entirely different manner. At the Staff* 
College a campaign has been selected sometimes which the 
officers have studied beforehand, and though they were 
aware of the mistakes made by one commander and the 
superior military capacity of the other in the real cam- 
paign, it was frequently found that these mistakes were 
repeated, and the plans were not always so well laid as in 
the example. 

By means of these Staff* Rides officers can be given the 
most valuable instruction in the following strategical, 
tactical, and administrative problems : 

(a) The preparation of plans of campaign, commonly 
called " Appreciations of the situation.*" 

(b) The organisation of systems of intelligence in peace 
jij and war in diff'erent circumstances. 

(c) The organisation and defence of the base and of the 
line of communication of the army, either by sea and rail, 
as in South Africa or India; by river, as in Egypt or 
Burma ; by rail, road, and mountain tracks, as in the Tirah ; 
or by any combination of these. 

(d) The study of strategical and tactical situations from 
day to day, and the various reconnaissance work that is 
necessary before the troops can march, attack, defend, halt, 
pursue, camp or bivouac with as much safety and comfort 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 11 

as possible, and without unnecessary loss of time and 
efficiency. 

(e) The preparation and issue of orders in all circum- 
stances. 

(f) The transportation of troops by land and sea, 
including the movement of troops by railway, road, canal, 
river, and lake, over mountains, deserts, rivers, marshes, 
and open or close country of every type. 

(g) The study of questions of transport of every de- 
scription : the peculiarity of the animals, their special food, 
their requirements as regards class of road, hours of rest, 
climatic influences, suitable drivers, load tables, system of 
organisation in companies or sections, source whence they 
can be obtained, how they are to be transported to the 
theatre of war, the necessary rest before employment at 
the front, and many other points which will readily occur 
to the staff officer. 

(A) The supply, either from the base or locally, of food, 
forage, ammunition, clothing, equipment, soldiers to replace 
casualties — in fact, everything that is required to keep 
the army efficient and up to strength during the progress 
of the campaign — and to ensure that the regimental officers 
and men are provided with all attainable means of execut- 
ing their duties in front of the enemy. 

(i) The preparation of despatches for the home Govern- 
ment and for higher commanders, the organisation of a 
proper system for collecting accurate accounts of the 
various events of the campaign, including the number of 
troops employed on different dates and in different parts 
of the theatre of war. 

(k) The discipline of the army, the collection and dis- 
posal of sick, wounded, prisoners of war and captured 
material, the burial of the dead after battle, arrangements 
for an armistice, and reception of flags of truce. 

It will be observed that a great deal of the work which 



12 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

is carried out during during a Staff Ride has little to do 
with the actual ground, but the work during one of these 
exercises is divided into two portions : by day the officers 
study the ground and draw up schemes for the various 
requirements of the troops during the campaign, and in 
the evening they work out the other details which do not 
require a knowledge or inspection of the ground. 

Sufficient has been said to show that a Staff Ride forms a 
valuable means of instruction for a staff officer. It is true 
that the troops are hot present, but the most important 
part of a staff officer'*s work is completed before the troops 
arrive. The staff officer must constantly work ahead of 
the troops ; if he allows them to overtake him, hardship, 
delay, and loss of efficiency will immediately follow, to say 
nothing of the strategical and tactical failure which will 
result therefrom. 

It is also apparent that, however valuable these exercises 
may be for the instruction of staff officers, their utility for 
teaching regimental officers is distinctly limited, because 
the studies of the latter should not be confined to the 
higher branches of the art of war, when they have so much 
to learn in connection with the leading of small units on 
the march, in bivouac, and in battle. 

After the South African War there was a great boom 
in education. The papers said that the British officer was 
a fine brave soldier, but that he was not educated. Tliere 
may have been some truth in this, and the reasons have 
been discussed already. As a matter of fact, the regi- 
mental officer was not seriously lacking in education, but 
he was the officer most easily approached, and strenuous 
endeavours were made to improve his knowledge. The 
officers who had been through the Staff College, and others 
who had realised the value of Staff Rides, proceeded to hold 
a number of these exercises, and conducted them on similar 
lines to those at the Staff College. It was soon discovered 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 13 

that the study of a staff officer's duties was unnecessary for 
a regimental officer, and what has been called the Regi- 
mental Tour was substituted. Though the name was 
changed, the system of instruction remained the same, and 
it is the object of this book to consider the best form of 
instruction for staff officers by means of Staff Rides, and the 
best manner of teaching regimental officers through the 
agency of Regimental Tours. 

We have seen already what it is necessary for a staff 
officer to learn, and it remains for us to consider the duties 
of the ordinary regimental officer in war, and ascertain 
what it is necessary to teach him beyond what he has already 
learnt during squadron, battery, or company training, and 
at field-days and manoeuvres. We may classify the war 
duties of the regimental officer under the following 
headings : 

Tactical. — (a) The leading of his men under all circum- 
stances in front of the enemy, including the solution of 
small tactical problems. 

(b) The security of the main portion of his command at 
all times. 

(c) The collection and rapid transmission of information, 
by means of signalling, telephone, orderlies, &c. 

(d) The highest attainable bodily activity and endurance 
on the part of his men, and efficiency in the use of arms. 

Administrative. — (e) The health and comfort of his 
men, including sanitation and discipline. 

(J*) The immediate supply of water, food, ammunition, 
clothing, pay, &c. 

(g) The establishment of camps and bivouacs. 

(h) The care of horses and other transport animals, 
their feeding, powers of endurance, loads, &c. 

If we could rely upon every regimental officer being 
thoroughly instructed in the above duties, we could safely 
leave out the more elaborate questions which have to be 



14 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

included and dealt with in the training of staff officers. 
It will be found, when approached from this point of view, 
that the tactical and administrative exercises called Regi- 
mental Tours are of the greatest assistance to regimental 
officers. If these exercises could be conducted on one 
principle, a school of thought and action could be intro- 
duced which would be invaluabl to the whole army in war. 

The chief reason for any failure on the part of regimental 
officers in war is that they have rarely been called upon to 
work out small tactical problems on the ground in peace. 
As a campaign progresses it is found that these officers 
become masters in the particular form of attack, defence, 
outposts, &c., which it is most suitable to apply to the 
tactics of the enemy. The fact is they are constantly 
studying ground and solving small tactical problems. 
They know what to do and do it, without fearing that 
their superior officer will say that it is wrong. 

The tactical study of ground can easily be taught 
during a Regimental Tour, better in fact than at man- 
oeuvres or even at training. There is always a good deal of 
hurry at manoeuvres, and the training of most units is 
carried on at certain military centres where the ground is 
of one type. The officers may get very proficient in hand- 
ling troops over this ground, but they will be at a disad- 
vantage if they are suddenly called upon to face an enemy 
in entirely different country. It would be best, of course, 
if all units could be trained on different types of ground, 
but failing this, by means of Regimental Tours, which cost 
little compared with manoeuvres, officers and non-com- 
missioned officers can be taken to all kinds of ground, and 
can work out tactical problems with almost as much 
advantage as if the troops were actually there. 

Anything that an officer learns with reference to the 
ground he will remember on the day of battle : he has, so to 
speak, been there before ; it will come natural to him to do 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 15 

the right thing, and he will do it. On the other hand, 
what he has learnt from books has not come to him 
naturally by studying the ground, but by an effort of 
memory, and he did not learn it at the time to enable him 
to lead his men in war so much as to pass an examination. 
He has probably forgotten it long before he goes to war, 
but he is unlikely to forget those occasions when he took 
part in animated discussions with his instructor as to the 
best manner of attacking over a certain piece of ground, 
of placing a battery, or of operating with a squadron. 

An officer has not got to teach his men anything very 
complicated. They must learn to use their weapons as 
efficiently as possible, to scout, obey signals and orders 
rapidly, advance over different types of ground in a 
different manner, and occupy defensive positions in the 
way most suited to the use of their weapons. The attack 
for the company or squadron is almost always frontal ; it is 
very rare, owing to darkness, fog, or smoke, that one com- 
pany can strike the actual flank of a hostile company. So 
we see that it is not the situation that varies so much as 
the groimd, and regimental officers should constantly be 
taken on to fresh groimd and asked to draw up a scheme 
for the attack, defence, &c., of the particular bit in front. 

The direction and conduct of a Staff Ride is quite 
different to that of a R^mental Tour, and endeavours will 
be made in the following pages to suggest a method of 
conducting each which has been proved by constant 
practice to possess some merits, but is no doubt capable of 
further improvement. Many Staff Rides and Regimental 
Tours have been somewhat barren in their results because 
the officers who have been directing them have not realised 
that the chief instruction to be imparted is the solution of 
strategical and tactical problems on the ground. It is 
decided in some command to hold a Staff Ride, the scheme 
is prepared and the officers are collected at the place 



16 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

chosen, and then every one becomes absorbed in the plan 
of operations. The great question appears to be whether 
Colonel A is beating Colonel Z. It is a matter almost of 
indifference what the results may be as regards Colonel A 
and Colonel Z, because the able dispositions of one com- 
mander, and the mistakes made by the other, form equally 
good lessons for the instructors to bring to notice. What 
is really important is whether due attention has been paid 
to the ground, and whether officers have been given oppor- 
tunities for studying instructive problems on the ground. 
All the rest of the work could have been done by Colonel 
A and Colonel Z on the map, and no one need have come 
out on to the ground at all. 

It is also a common practice to collect a lot of officers 
on a Staff Ride and send them out to reconnoitre ground 
for attack, defence, or other military purpose, irrespective 
of whether they are staffs officers or regimental officers. 
If we wish to train regimental officers to be staffs officers 
we had better send them to the Staff* College, where they 
can be properly instructed. If, however, we wish to train 
them to become excellent regimental officers, we .should 
limit our instruction to those duties which they have to 
perfornl in war, and which have been summarised already. 
The reconnaissance of ground with a view to the prepara- 
tion of elaborate reports and sketches is not among those 
duties. Staffs Rides are for staff officers, or for those who 
are learning to become staff* officers, and should not be 
confounded with Regimental Tours. 

The only way of teaching regimental officers during a 
Regimental Tour is for the instructor to go out on to the 
ground with them, and issue a fairly simple problem of 
attack, defence, outposts, &c., and work out every detail of 
that problem with the officers on the ground. The 
natural continuity of the operation can be dealt with by 
a series of situations. The first situation can deal with 



THE TRAINING OF OFFICERS FOR WAR 17 

the placing of the troops, and each officer should be called 
upon to write down what he considers to be a suitable 
distribution. This situation can then be discussed on the 
ground, and the instructor should always state what he 
considers to be the best solution, giving his reasons, when 
much interesting discussion will take place with officers 
who hold contrary views. The second situation can then 
be issued, usually describing the first contact with the 
enemy's advanced troops ; and the method of solving this 
problem will be dealt with in a similar manner, and so on 
with the third and fourth situations. 

It is necessary for officers to possess maps of the country, 
in order to understand the general idea, but the maps 
should be put away as soon as possible and the officers 
work entirely on the ground, just as they would have to 
do in war. In the past we have trained our officers more 
by maps than is desirable, because the maps usually avail- 
able for regimental officers in war are on too small a scale 
to be of much use tactically. No more need be said here 
about this form of instruction, as it is fully explained in 
Chapters XVII. to XX. 

To sum up the above : we can learn the principles of 
strategy, tactics, and administration from books, but it is 
necessary to apply these principles to ever-varying situa- 
tions, on still more varying ground, before we shall gain 
that solid instruction which will be of hourly service to us 
in war. 



CHAPTER II 

PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR A 
STAFF RIDE 

Selection of a Locality. — ^There are two considerations 
which affect the selection of a locality for a Staff Ride. 
First it is necessary to find suitable accommodation for the 
officers, and secondly suitable groimd for the class of 
operation it is proposed to undertake. 

It has been found in practice that it is undesirable to 
conduct a Staff Ride from the peace quarters of any garrison, 
though this is the least expensive method, because the 
travelling expenses and allowances of officers are greatly 
reduced. If officers are taken right away from their peace 
stations they get on to fresh ground, which adds to the 
instruction ; their attention is not distracted by local 
engagements, and active service conditions are more nearly 
approached. Officers have nothing else to do, and con- 
sequently devote their whole attention to the work on hand. 

Even when it is desired to exercise the officers of a 
fortress in the repulse of an attack upon its defences, it 
is better to collect the officers in an hotel inside the 
fortress during the period of the Staff Ride. The advantage 
thus gained by the superior instruction which it is possible 
to impart is well worth the extra cost. As will be seen 
later, the officers on a Staff Ride must be in close touch 
with each other, just as they are in war ; and if they are 
constantly dispersing for meals, &c., the value of the 
exercise is reduced. 



PRELIMINAKY ARRANGEMENTS 19 

Hotel proprietors in England are now becoming accus- 
tomed to accommodate officers for a Staff Ride, and the 
exorbitant prices formerly charged can be greatly reduced 
if arrangements are made beforehand. The following 
letter will usually meet with their approval : 

Sir, — It is proposed to bring a party of eight officers to 
-, from the — ^th to — th February. The terms pro- 



posed are as follows : A daily charge of 11^. a head, to 
include two private sitting-rooms, one small, and one large 
enough to accommodate the whole party ; a separate bed- 
room for each officer, bath, lights, attendance, bicycle or 
motor accommodation'; a good breakfast, afternoon tea, 
dinner, and after-dinner coffee. 

Extras : Luncheon 2.9. 6d., full board and lodging for 
an officer's servant 6*. a day, wines and mineral waters at 
ordinary prices.. 

Please state if you are prepared to accept these terms. 

For smalier parties of officers, or for a shorter period, 
some slight increase would probably be necessary. Any 
town where some local function is in progress, or any 
fashionable watering-place during the season, should be 
avoided, as the charges will be excessive. If possible, all 
the officers on one side should be accommodated in one 
hotel ; it is much more comfortable for them, and there is 
no waste of time going to and fro when they are very busy. 

If suitable accommodation cannot be found elsewhere, 
there is no serious objection to the officers on both sides 
staying in the same town ; but separate hotels should be 
allotted to each, otherwise information intended only for 
the Blue side is apt to reach the Red by mistake. The 
directing staff on each side must stay at the same hotel as 
the officers under instruction, so that the former will 
always be on the spot to answer the numerous questions 



20 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

that are asked and to keep everything up to time. The 
director-in-chief, who decides the results of each day's 
operations, can remain on either side or at some other 
town, provided he is in telegraphic or telephonic communi- 
cation with each side. It is usual for him to remain with 
one side for half the time and attend the conferences in 
the evening, and then go over to the other side. 

In South Africa or in India, owing to the distance 
apart of towns with suitable accommodation, the officers 
on one or both sides must be provided sometimes with 
tents. This of coiu'se adds to the expense, but the value 
of the instruction is increased and active service conditions 
closely approached. On such occasions a small camp must 
be formed and a special officer attached to the Staff Ride to 
attend to the transport, camp, and messing arrangements. 
To avoid putting officers to extra expense, a liberal allow- 
ance should be authorised from the training grant, if 
possible, to cover the additional cost of living. It is un- 
desirable, if the exercise is to be a success, that officers 
should be put to expense thereby. When a camp is 
formed it is necessary in any case to provide transport, so 
the transport may as well stay at the camp. It will then 
be possible to move the headquarters* of each side when- 
ever desired. By this means the officers can follow the 
movements of the imaginary force, and always be close to 
their work, they can ride horses, and altogether it would 
be the best form of Staff Ride that could be devised. To 
enable the assistant directors on each side to communicate 
the intentions of each commander to the director, and for 
the latter to transmit his decisions to the former, it would 
be necessary to establish some rapid means of communica- 
tion between them ; probably visual signalling would be 
the cheapest and the most effective, and would afford good 
practice for local signallers. 

When officers are accommodated in hotels, as in England, 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 21 

it is undesirable to change the headquarters of each side 
from day to day, partly because there is always trouble 
and expense in connection with the conveyance of baggage, 
and partly because an hotel manager will grant better 
terms if officers stay for three or^ four days than he will 
for a shorter period. 

With a little care in preparing the scheme, the imaginary 
force can start on the first day on one side of the town 
selected for the headquarters, move past or through it, 
and the operations can close on the last day beyond it. 
By this means the officers will never have far to go to their 
work, and they will constantly be studying fresh ground. 
It is desirable to select a town and draw lip the scheme so 
that railways are available running in a suitable direction, 
to enable officers to reach the ground rapidly and start 
fresh for their work. 

A sea-coast town is unsuitable for the headquarters of 
a Staff Ride, except of course when it is desired to study the 
embarkation or disembarkation of troops, the reconnais- 
sance of a coast-line, or the defence of a base of operations. 
In such a locality, owing to the sea, the manoeuvre area, as 
compared with an inland town, is reduced by half ; the 
operations would be hampered by the sea, one or both 
forces would constantly have a safe flank so long as it 
rested on the sea, and the power of manoeuvre of one or 
both commanders would be reduced, resulting in loss ot 
instruction. 

The class of operation which it is desired to practise 
will rule the selection of the locality. Widely different 
types of ground can be found in various parts of the United 
Kingdom, South Africa, and India. Operations can be 
practised amongst mountains, woods, open and enclosed 
country, near rivers, and over flat, hilly, or undulating 
ground. It is better for the scheme to depend upon the 
locality selected than for the locality to depend on the 



22 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

scheme, because then we can make sure of using suitable 
ground. 

The groimd selected should be of a different type to 
that at the ordinary peace station of the officers under 
instruction. For example, if it is desired to instruct 
commanders and staff officers who are quartered on Salis- 
bury Plain, open rolling downs should be avoided, as they 
have constant practice on such ground during the whole 
year. It is desirable to take such officers into more 
enclosed country where visual communication is difficult, 
and where the combined action of the three arms can only 
be secured by the most careful staff work and reconnais- 
sance. On the other hand, where the officers are quartered 
in very close country with high banks or hedges, like Essex 
or Devonshire, it would be best to exercise them in open 
country where the three arms could act more freely. 

The Number of Officers to be Employed. — It does 
not appear to be generally recognised that the number of 
officers who can be usefully employed on a Staff Ride is 
limited by the following facts : 

{a) One directing officer should not deal with the work 
of more than seven or eight officers. 

(6) The number of officers attending the evening con- 
ference should also not exceed eight. 

(c) Hotel accommodation in a suitable locality cannot 
always be found for more than eight officers added to the 
directing staff. 

(d) It is difficult to obtain a sufficient number of officers 
of senior rank to perform the duties of director and assis- 
tant director for a large party of officers. 

As regards the first of these limitations, it is only neces- 
sary to read Chapter VIII., on the conduct of Staff Rides, 
to realise the amount of work that the assistant director 
must get through during each day. Briefly, he must visit 
the ground where the officers are working, and study it 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 23 

from the point of view of the instructions each officer has 
received ; examine and comment upon the work done by 
each officer during the day and on the previous evening, 
and take extracts from it for discussion at the conference 
that night ; prepare instructions for the work to be done 
by each officer in the evening, and on the ground next day ; 
draw up a narrative of the day''s operations from the 
decisions he has received from the director ; and write a 
telegram or message to the director based on the orders of 
the officer commanding the side he is superintending, and 
describing the intentions of that officer for his operations 
next day. As will be seen later, if he omits any one of 
these things the instruction received by the officers will 
suffer. 

After all, six or eight commanders and staff officers on 
each side are quite as many as can be got together con- 
veniently in most commands. As already pointed out, 
there is no object in including a number of regimental 
officers, who only spoil the instruction of the staff officers, 
and do not gain much useful instruction themselves. The 
addition of regimental officers to a Staff Ride, especially 
when junior in rank, is only a source of embarrassment to 
the assistant director, because it is difficult to find them 
suitable employment, and the result is that frequently 
they are given tasks beyond their capabilities and rank, or 
else they are neglected. In either case they are not very 
interested in the work, and the instruction they receive is 
slight. Any but the very senior regimental officers or 
those working for the Staff College should be instructed by 
means of Regimental Tours and not by Staff Rides. 

It has been the custom, when dealing with a large 
number of officers on each side, to provide several staff 
officers to help the assistant director, so that there may 
be about one directing staff officer to seven or eight 
officers under instruction. This is not a very satisfactory 



24 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

system, and in any case it does not get over the undesira- 
bility, discussed below, of assembling a large number of 
oflicei*s at one conference. It is very difficult to divide the 
work among these directing staff officers, and it usually 
means that some of the work done by a senior officer is 
examined by a junior, who possibly has not been on the 
ground at all, and simply has a few reports given to him 
and is told to criticise them. Some Staff Rides have been 
held where the directing staff have been almost as 
numerous as the officers under instruction. On such 
occasions there is usually a good deal of conversation, but 
no great amount of instruction filters through to the 
officers who are brought out to learn. 

The whole truth is that only one person can do the work 
of a director or of an assistant director. If, however, it 
is considered necessary to have a large number of officers 
under instruction, then an assistant director must be 
provided for every seven or eight officers, and they must 
do the best they can. 

Though we can possibly increase the number of officers 
under instruction by increasing the number of assistant 
directors, a limit is again reached by the number of 
officers who can profitably take part in the evening 
conference. ITie conference should not last much longer 
than an hour ; the best instructor cannot expect to keep 
the close attention of the officers for a longer period. 
They have already done a hard day'*s work, and sometimes, 
though this is undesirable, they have more to do when the 
conference is over. If twelve officers are present, then 
five minutes can be devoted to each officer^s work — that is 
to say, two minutes to the work he did on the previous 
evening, and three minutes to the work he has done during 
the day. This of course is not sufficient, and an average 
of at least ten minutes should be allowed for each officer, 
which reduces the number of officers who can usefully 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 25 

take part in the conference to seven or at the outside 
eight. 

Conferences have been held on occasions consisting of 
twenty, forty, and even eighty officers. Such meetings 
simply take the form of a lecture delivered by the direct- 
ing officer, frequently supplemented by a heated argument 
between the two commanders, if both sides are present. 
On such occasions no attempt can be made to deal with 
individual work, and the director is compelled to confine 
himself to a few general remarks. Another objection to 
a large conference is that it is difficult to get any officer to 
discuss a question which is raised, whereas at a small 
conference of seven or eight officers every one, with a little 
encouragement, can be induced to express his views and 
give his reasons for adopting or recommending a certain 
course of action. 

The best number of officers to employ on each side is six or 
seven, with one assistant director superintending the work, 
or, if the latter has had some experience in conducting 
these exercises, and knows exactly what to look for in the 
work, he may be able to deal with eight officers. 

If two assistant directors, each with seven officers, ai-e 
employed on one side, and each holds his conference in 
the evening, then each assistant director with his seven 
officers must form one distinct detachment of the force, 
otherwise complications arise, which usually result in one 
of the assistant directors doing nearly all the work, and 
there is in consequence a loss of instruction. For example, 
suppose the Blue force consists of two divisions, the Blue 
commander and one of the divisions could be under one 
assistant director, and the remaining division under the 
other. In this case, however, it must be remembered that 
the officer commanding the last-mentioned division will 
be dependent on the officer commanding the force for his 
orders, and the general conduct of the operations will 



26 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

only be discussed at one of the conferences, because the 
other assistant director will not have seen the work of 
the officer commanding the force. 

Another solution, if so many officers are required, would 
be to duplicate everything, and have two independent StaflF 
Rides going on at the same time ; but under ordinary 
circumstances it would be very difficult to get a sufficient 
number of senior directors and assistant directors for this 
purpose, and it would be better to have two smaller Staff 
Rides with different schemes and at different times. 

Sometimes officers have been told off to work in pairs, so 
that one assistant director could deal with the work of 
twelve officers, each pair of officers sending in only one 
piece of work. This again is unsatisfactory; it means 
either that each officer's work is halved, or that one does 
all the work and the other looks on. If both officers do a 
full day's work, then the amount for the assistant director 
to examine will be the same as if he had given each a 
separate task, and he will practically be dealing with the 
work of the twelve officers, which, as already shown, is 
beyond his power. 

The available number of suitable officers to act as 
director and assistant director is always very limited, and 
it is frequently necessary to obtain the services of officers 
from outside the command. For example, suppose a 
divisional commander proposes to hold a Staff Ride, he 
would detail one of his infantiy brigadiers to command one 
side and the other brigadier to oppose him. With the 
new organisation of three infantry brigades he could em- 
ploy his third infantry brigadier as assistant director on 
one side and his artillery brigadier on the other. It would 
be necessary, however, that each of the brigadiers employed 
as assistant director should be senior to the brigadiers 
employed in command of the side. And even so the 
seniority would be so slight that it would be undesirable 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 27 

perhaps to ask one brigadier to criticise another. In any 
case, if he wished to give his two senior brigadiers an 
opportunity of commanding a side, there would be no one 
in the division except himself to act as assistant director. 

One way out of the difficulty is for the divisional com- 
mander to act in the capacity of director and also of 
assistant director on one side, and to obtain the services of 
a major-general from elsewhere to act as assistant director 
on the other side. As will be seen later, the duties of a 
director are not heavy : he has merely to decide upon the 
result of each day'*s operations ; he is, in fact, an umpire, 
and his duties could be performed quite well by a junior 
officer, provided he does not examine any work done by a 
senior officer. The officer on a StaflF Ride who is really 
the instructor is the assistant director. The director has 
frequently afforded valuable instruction to the officers 
taking part in a ride, but in that case he has been supple- 
menting and partially taking the place of the assistant 
director. If this is done the director will see the work 
done by one side only, and he will not be able to spend 
half the time with one party and half with the other, as 
is desirable, imless he changes places with the assistant 
director on the other side, which method has some 
objections. 

Another system is for a junior officer to be appointed 
assistant director, say on the Blue side, and the director to 
take the officers on the Red side. When this is done the 
assistant director would send to the director all the work 
done by officers on the Blue side who were senior to him, 
and the conference in the evening on the Blue side would 
be presided over by the Blue commander, the assistant 
director being asked to discuss any instructive points which 
he has observed when looking over the work of the junior 
officers. This system has frequently been tried, and it is 
probably the best solution of the difficulty. The divisional 



28 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

commander would perform the duties of director and also 
of assistant director on one side, and one of his briga- 
diers, or his colonel on the General Staff, could act as 
assistant director on the other side. 

Nothing is so undesirable as to collect several junior 
officers on the directing staff to look over and comment 
upon the work done by senior officers. It has been tried 
repeatedly, but never with success. All sorts of methods 
have been suggested to overcome the difficulty, but none 
of them are satisfactory. For example, the comments 
made by junior officers have been typed, signed by the 
director, and issued to the officers. Every one knows that 
it is impossible for the director to write such lengthy com- 
ments and look over so much work in the time, and as a 
result the remarks carry little weight, because it is known 
that they were not initiated by the director himself. 
Even a senior major-general will rarely criticise a junior 
of the same rank, and he is quite right. It is necessary, 
therefore, to appoint one officer as director who is at least 
one rank senior to any officer, and to obtain one or two 
junior officers to act as assistant directors. 

The Selection of Officers and Allotment of Duties 
FOR A Staff Ride. — ^I'hese depend a good deal on the 
class of work it is proposed to practise. It should be 
remembered, however, that the object of the exercise is to 
practise the commanders, staff officers, and administrative 
officers of the command in the duties they will be called 
upon to perform in real war, and not for the instruction 
of regimental officers. 

As there are very few staff officers and a great number 
of regimental officers in a brigade of any arm, and as the 
commanders and staff officers of these brigades will be 
employed on Staff Rides held by divisional or other com- 
manders, it is probable that the brigadier-general will, as 
a rule, conduct Regimental Tours rather than Staff Rides. 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 29 

If, however, a brigadier-general wishes to hold a Staff* 
Ride, he is somewhat limited in the number of officers he 
can usefully instruct. He has his brigade-major and four 
commanding officers, and he may have a few Staff* College 
officers who happen at the time to be serving with their 
regiments, and a few other officers who hope to become 
staff officers. In any case it is doubtful if he could collect 
twelve officers to take part in a Staffs Ride and two others 
besides himself to conduct the exercise. It would be 
desirable, therefore, to hold what has been called a single 
Staffs Ride, where one side only is represented by a party 
of officers, and the operations of the opposing force are 
conducted entirely by the brigadier acting as director. 

These single Staff* Rides are very instructive, and the 
method of conducting them is explained in Chapter IX. 
One director is required, but no assistant directors, and 
this simplifies the matter. The force employed should 
not exceed a mixed brigade of all arms, and the composi- 
tion of the Staffs Ride might be as follows : 

Director The Brigadier-General. 

StaffOfficer (not really required) The Brigade-Major, or a selected officer. 
Officer commanding the force . The officer commanding one of the 

battalions of the brigade. 
Staff Officer .... The Brigade-Major, or a selected officer. 

A Supply Officer or Medical Officer can be added if required. 
Officer commanding the Infan- The officer commanding one of the 

try Brigade battalions of the brigade. 

Officercommanding the Cavalry A Mounted Infantry officer from the 

brigade. 
Officer commanding the Artil- A Battery Commander borrowed from 
lery the divisional Artillery. 

This would give a total of six officers under instruction, 
which would be quite as many as the brigadier-general 
could deal with. The force might consist of one infantry 
brigade, from one squadron to one regiment of cavalry, 
and from one battery to one brigade of artillery, the 
amount of cavalry and artillery depending upon the 



so STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

nature of the scheme and of the ground selected for the 
operations. 

For a divisional Staff Ride both sides can be repre- 
sented by a party of officers. As there are four brigadier- 
generals in the division, the allotment of the officers might 
be as follows : 



Director, performing also the 
duties of Assistant Director 
on one side 

Staff Officer (if required) 

Assistant Director on the other 

side 
Commanding the Blue Force . 
Staff Officer, General Staff . 
Staff Officer for supply or medi- 
cal services (if required) . 
Commanding the Blue Division 
Staff Officer, General Staff . 
Commanding the Artillery- 
Commanding the Cavalry 



The Major-General commanding 
division. 



the 



Staff, or the 
the Colonel, 



The Colonel, General 
D.A.A. and Q.M.G. 

A Brigadier-General, or 
General Staff. 

A Brigadier-General. 

His Brigade-Major. 



A selected officer. 
A Brigadier-General. 
His Brigade-Major. 
An Artillery officer. 
A selected officer, or a Cavalry officer 
borrowed for the occasion. 



This gives a total of seven officers on the Blue side, 
which is sufficient. The Blue force might consist of one 
division of infantry, a regiment of cavalry, and two com- 
panies of mounted infantry. 



Commanding the Red Force . 
Staff Officer, General Staff 
Staff Officer for other services 

(if required) 
Commanding the Infantry 
Staff Officer, General Staff 
Commanding the Cavalry 



A Brigadier-General. 
His Brigade-Major. 

A selected officer. 
A Brigadier-General. 
A Brigade-Major. 

A selected officer, or a Cavalry officer 
borrowed for the occasion. 



Commanding the Artillery . An Artillery officer. 

A total of seven officers. The Red force might consist of 
two brigades of infantry, two brigades of artillery, two 
squadrons of cavalry, a company of mounted infantry, and 
two companies of engineers. 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 31 

There is no particular object in appointing a staff officer 
for supply duties alone. When the system of supply has 
once been established there is not much work for a supply 
officer to do on a Staff Ride, because he cannot actually super- 
intend the collection and distribution of supplies and do the 
large amount of staff work which is necessary in real war. 
It is desirable, however, to appoint a supply officer and a 
medical officer to assist the director and suggest suitable 
work in their particular branches of administration. These 
officers would be attached to the directing staff. Of course 
in war the commanders would have a much larger staff than 
is given above, but on a Staff Ride it is impossible to invent 
all the work connected with administration, intelligence, 
supply, &c., which has to be dealt with on a real cam- 
paign, and which takes up so much of a staff officer''s 
time. 

The above examples have been given only as a guide ; 
they must be varied to suit the requirements of each case, 
but they are useful to indicate what is possible. It will be 
seen that one side is stronger than the other. This is done 
for several reasons which will be explained later. 

It has been the custom in the past to draw up a long 
list of officers, each being allotted a separate staff appoint- 
ment. It has been found when this is done that during 
the Staff Ride these officers rarely do any work in connec- 
tion with their particular appointments. The fact is that 
in these exercises one commander and one staff* officer is 
sufficient for each command, as there is not enough work 
to provide employment for any others. For a very large 
Staff Ride, where a force consisting of several army corps is 
employed, extra staff officers would no doubt be required ; 
but such elaborate exercises would be conducted by high 
military authorities, so there is no occasion to deal with 
them in this volume. 

In the above allotment of duties it is assumed that the 



32 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

assistant director will send to the director all work done 
by officers on his side who are of the same rank, or senior 
to him, for the director to examine and comment upon. 
That is the reason why it is suggested that the director 
should have a staff officer who can assist him in preparing 
the narratives and looking over the work done by some of 
the junior officers on the director's side. There may be 
difficulties in getting this work returned to the assistant 
director in time to be issued before the evening conference, 
but with a motor or a motor-cyclist it should be possible 
to do it. 

When an assistant director is appointed who is junior 
to the commander of the force on his side, it has been the 
custom for the evening conference to be presided over by 
the commander of the force. The assistant director would 
be called upon to discuss the work of the officers junior to 
him, and also any other point which the officer command- 
ing the force wished to be investigated. This method has, 
however, one drawback, because the commander of the 
force has enough to do without being called upon to 
prepare notes for the conference. 

The details of a Staff Ride which would be held in one 
of the large commands in England, India, or elsewhere are 
similar in most respects to those of a divisional Staff Ride, 
only with larger forces. Theoretically it is desirable to 
exercise officers in the command, administration, and staff 
work of a large force, but when reduced to practice the 
instruction actually imparted usually decreases as the size 
of the force increases. The exercise is apt to drift into 
the consideration of the strategy of the campaign and 
little else. Sometimes indeed the exercise might have 
been earned out on paper without going on to the ground 
at all. When a large force is employed a study of one 
day's operations would last for the whole period of the 
Staff Ride, if all the instructive details were considered ; 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 33 

but what usually happens is that divisions are moved 
about with great celerity, a certain amount of ground is 
reconnoitred, and the main interest is centred in the 
general plan of operations and not on the ground. 

Officers of the rank of major-general are usually 
employed to command each side, which is composed of 
from two to three divisions. This is the largest force 
which can be properly dealt with by one director, as it is 
necessary to have more than six officers on each side. The 
selection of officers and the allotment of duties might be 
as follows : 

Director .... The Lieutenant-General commanding. 

General Staff .... A Brigadier-General or Colonel. 

. Two Majors, or a Major and Captain. 
. A Lieutenant-General (if possible). 
. A Brigadier-General, or Colonel and a 
Major. 
Assistant Director and Staff for Blue as for Red. 



Assistant Director, Red 
General Staff . 



Assuming that the Red force consists of three divisions 
and two cavalry brigades, the composition of the Staff 
Ride might be as follows : 

Commanding Red Force . . A Major-General. 

General Staff .... A Colonel. 

Administrative Staff . . A Major. 

Commanding Ist Division . A Brigadier-General. 

General Staff . . .His Brigade- Major. 

Artillery Commander . A Field Artillery Brigade Commander. 

The 2nd and 3rd Divisions would be similarly constituted. 
Commanding the Cavalry . A Brigadier-General. 
General Staff . . .His Brigade-Major. 

This gives a total of fourteen officers, which is the most 
that the assistant director could manage. Of course 
with such a large number the instruction imparted at the 
conferences will not be very great, for reasons already 
indicated, and the staff of the assistant director must 
criticise some of the work of the junior officers. 

c 



34 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The Blue force might consist of two divisions, with a 
cavalry brigade and some heavy artillery, &c., attached. 
It is advisable to allot different numbers to the divisions on 
each side to avoid confusion. The side might be composed 
of the following officers : 

Commanding Blue Force . A Major-General. 

General Staff .... A Colonel. 

Administrative Staff . . A Major. 

Commanding 6th Division . A Brigadier-General. 

General Staff .... His Brigade- Major. 

Artillery Commander . A Field Artillery Brigade Commander. 

The 6th division would be similarly constituted. 

Commanding the Cavalry . A Brigadier-General. 

General Staff' .... His Brigade-Major. 

lliis gives a total of eleven officers, the sum total of 
officers under instruction being twenty-five, and the total 
of officers on the directing staff being ten ; four of these 
latter, however, would be employed on the routine work of 
the Staff Ride, and would not take any part in the 
instruction. 

It is extremely doubtful if the services of two lieu- 
tenant-generals in addition to the director could be 
obtained. When this is the case, the best solution is for 
the director to deal with all the work on one side, and for 
a brigadier-general or colonel to be appointed assistant 
director on the other sidje, the latter sending all work 
done by officers senior to himself to the director for criti- 
cism, and the evening conference being held by the 
commander of the side, aided by the assistant director. 

The work done on a Staff Ride of this nature differs some- 
what from that previously described. Major-generals and 
Brigadier-generals would not be expected to write reports 
on the attack or defence of a position, &c. These reports 
are prepared by staff officers in war for the assistance and 
information of General officers. The staff officers of 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 35 

these Generals could be called upon to reconnoitre the 
ground in detail and draw up reports, and the Generals 
themselves could also go and look at the ground, and 
might even be asked to draw up a statement of their in- 
tentions, with their reasons, but these would, as a rule, be 
sufficiently indicated in their operation orders. 

ITie chief point to bear in mind is that on these large 
Staff Rides the advantage to be derived is the formulation 
of plans of action and the preparation of operation orders. 
A certain amount of instruction is obtained from studying 
the ground, but not to the same extent as on a small 
Staff Ride, because it is impossible at the conferences and 
when looking over such a large mass of work to go into 
sufficient detail. 

There is no doubt that the smaller Staff Rides suggested 
for a division are the best in every respect, so far as study 
of ground is concerned, but the larger ones are no doubt 
useful as an exercise in operations of war and field ad- 
ministration. 

There is another form of Staff Ride which has been tried 
sometimes, purely for the instruction of the staff officers 
of a large force, such as two or three divisions. In this 
case the senior staff officer of the force takes out all the 
staff officers in the command, and each performs the staff 
duties of his actual appointment. 

For example, the brigadier-general on the General Staff* 
of a command might prepare a scheme where two or three 
divisions were operating as a detached force against an 
enemy, the colonel himself deciding upon the operations 
of both sides, these being no part of the exercise. A series 
of situations would be indicated each day in the narrative 
of the operations, and the staff officers would be given 
work similar to what they would do in war. This is the 
foundation of all Staff Rides, and the only one to which 
the name properly applies. All other so-called Staff Rides 



36 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

and Regimental Tours are really strategical, tactical, and 

administrative exercises, and appertain little more to the 

instruction of the staff of the army than to commanders. 

The composition of this Staff Ride would be as follows : 

Director .... The Brigadier-General, General Staff, 

of the Command, 
Staff Officer .... A selected officer for routine work. 

Officers taking part in the exercise : 

One or more Colonels on the General Staff. 

Some of the Infantry Brigade-Majors of the Command. 

An Artillery Staff Officer. 

An Engineer Staff Officer. 

A Cavalry Staff Officer. 

An Administrative Medical Officer. 

A Supply Officer. 

A total of about eight officers under instruction. The 
work both on the ground during the day and in the 
evening would be largely administrative, such as the 
preparation of bivouacs, detraining troops, drafting orders, 
&c., but a certain amount of tactical training can also be 
imparted — in fact, anything included in the comprehensive 
term " staff duties," 

Means of Locomotion. — There are six methods of getting 
over the ground during these exercises : by rail, motor, or 
boat, on foot, horseback, or bicycles. 

Full use should be made of railways — in fact, as already 
suggested, the headquarters of the Staff Ride should be 
selected so that local railways, leading in the desired 
direction, are available. Railways are fairly cheap, and 
by using them officers can get rapidly on to the ground, 
start quite fresh for their work, and take their bicycles 
with them if required. The only disadvantage about a 
railway is that there are usually several trains to return 
by, and officers are apt to choose an early one, and not 
devote sufficient time to their study of the gi'ound. lliis 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 37 

of course should be discouraged in every possible way. It 
originated in topography, because formerly officers were 
called upon to make elaborate sketches, the best of which 
were not so good as the map they were copied from, and 
they were anxious to get home early so as to have plenty 
of time to *' finish up "^ the sketch. Officers should 
remember that the chief value of these exercises is the 
study of ground for tactical and administrative purposes 
in war ; that if they devote one hour to the ground they 
will gain one hour's instruction, but if they devote five 
hours to the ground they will obtain five hours' instruction. 

The same remark applies in another way to the 
directing staff*. Unless the staff officer who is going to 
criticise the work which is handed in studies the ground 
carefully beforehand, he is quite unable to impart any 
valuable instruction to officers who may have devoted 
many hours of work to their task. Many a Staff Ride has 
failed from this cause ; but the failure, and the reason for 
it, is not always apparent to the directing staflt*, though 
the officers under instruction will discuss it freely amongst 
themselves. The directing staff have a great ^eal of work 
to do during a Staff Ride, and that is the chief reason why 
a careful study of the ground is sometimes neglected. 

Motors when properly employed are invaluable on a 
Staff Ride, but at the same time their misuse is a frequent 
source of failure. Practical experience plainly shows that 
any reconnaissance done actually from a motor is of no 
value to the man who does it or to any one else. He flies 
over the country, he is probably talking most of the time, 
and he usually comes back in time for lunch and writes a 
report entirely from the map. 

Motors should be used simply to take officers on to the 
ground where they are told to work, and to bring them 
back in the afternoon. Reconnaissance which is really 
woi-th the name can only be done on horseback or on foot, 



38 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

and of the two the latter is the better. Bicycles are no 
doubt useful to get from the railway station to the ground 
and back again, but there is a great temptation not to 
leave the roads. When motors are employed, a regular 
service should be prepared up each evening for the follow- 
ing day. One motor can take three officers : the three that 
are working on ground nearest to the headquarters of the 
side can be sent off say at 9 a.m. ; the motor should return 
by 10 A.M., and can then take three officers to more distant 
places. In the afternoon, say at 3 p.m., the motor can pick 
up and bring back the first party of three officers, and then 
fetch the second party. In winter these hours might be 
made a little earlier. The main object is that officers 
should be allowed from four to five hours on the ground. 
In this manner two motors would be sufficient for a Stafl' 
Ride where only six officers are employed on each side, and 
two more for the directing staff — ^a total of four, which 
could usually be provided without undue expense. 

Motors are more important for the directing staff than 
for the officers under instruction. The former have a 
great deal of work to do and no time to waste : with a 
motor they can proceed more rapidly from the locality 
of one officer's task to the ground where another is work- 
ing than by any other means. Furthermore, they can 
get about without fatigue, and considering the amount of 
work they have to get through in the day, this is very 
important. A directing officer who has bicycled forty odd 
miles during the day cannot be expected to examine work 
and hold a conference with the same energy as a man who 
has been out in a motor and walked a few miles examining 
ground on foot. 

Boats would only be used for some special reconnaissance 
work, either in connection with the passage of a wide river 
where there are no bridges, such as the lower Thames, 
Medway, or Severn in England, and other larger rivers in 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 39 

India or South Africa, or for reconnaissance work in con- 
nection with a disembarkation, or a coast fortress, &c. 
Special arrangements should be made beforehand, espe- 
cially as regards the existence and working of any ferries 
which it is proposed to use, and which are marked on the 
map. 

The advantages of working on foot, from the point of 
view of instruction, cannot be exaggerated. An officer on 
foot can get anywhere a soldier can get ; he can examine 
the ground more accurately than in any other way, and the 
slow progress is no drawback. There is less temptation to 
take ground " as seen ^ ; and for working out the details of 
a defensive position, of an attack, or a bivouac, or any 
other staff work, an officer should either be on horseback or 
on foot ; and even when he is riding he must constantly 
dismount and lead or tie up his horse, which then becomes 
rather an encumbrance. 

Horses are too expensive to take on an ordinary Staff 
Ride — in fact, they nearly double the cost of the exercise. 
They have to be billeted, and the billets must change 
every night, so that they will be near the work the officers 
have to do next day. This is by no means easy to arrange : 
it has been done, however, on more than one occasion, so 
that the method adopted may be worth considering. 

The horses are first collected, not necessarily at the 
headquarters of the Staff Ride, but at some village near 
the ground where the officers will be working on the first 
day. The officers go from headquarters to this village 
either by rail, motor, or bicycle, and are informed before 
starting that they are to leave their horses in the evening 
at another village near where the officers will be working 
on the following day. The officei-s' servants, or the 
soldiers, if troop horses are used, who look after the horses, 
must proceed to this second village by train or other means 
during the day, and be ready to take over the hoi-ses in 



40 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the afternoon, the oflScers returning to headquarters by 
rail, motor, or cycle. 

It is not always easy for the directing staff to select 
this second village, but it must be selected and warning 
given to the police some days before to have the billets 
prepared. An officer must be told off with a sufficient 
number of non-commissioned officers to have sole charge of 
the horses in billets, and these billets must not be changed 
by the riders. All sorts of complications arise in practice, 
but with a good officer in charge of the horses they are all 
surmountable. The horses cannot be kept at the head- 
quarters of the Staff Hide, because the distance to the 
work would generally be too great. The only other 
alternative is for the headquarters to move every day with 
the horses, but it is very rare that suitable accommodation 
for a large party of officers can be found at intervals of 
about ten miles along any road. In India or South Africa, 
if a camp is formed, these difficulties disappear, and horses 
can be used with great advantage. It must always be 
remembered that they will invariably be used in war 
except in very mountainous country, and so it is desirable 
for officers to have some practice in doing reconnaissance 
work on horseback during peace. 

The bicycle is no doubt a very useful machine, but as 
most Staflt* Rides in England take place in the winter, the 
roads and weather are not usually very suitable for rapid 
and comfortable riding. Still the main roads are fairly 
good, and if an officer first studies his task on the map in 
the manner suggested in Chapter XIV, and decides on his 
general plan of reconnaissance, he can go from place to 
place on his bicycle and do the rest on foot. A bicycle 
can easily be hidden behind a hedge and left, with a fair 
chance of its being there when the owner returns. Almost 
every one can ride a bicycle, but if it is intended to rely 
on bicycles to enable officers to reach their work, the 



PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS 41 

directing staff should ascertain beforehand whether all the 
officers taking part in the exercise are in possession of 
these machines. Officers have been detailed on occasions 
for a Staff Ride who are unable to ride a bicycle, and they 
have been a considerable source of enibaiTassment to the 
directing staff, who have been unable to find them suitable 
work to do. It is undesirable to make senior officers ride 
about on bicycles. 



CHAPTER III 

THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 

One of the most difficult tasks for an officer to undertake 
is the preparation of a realistic scheme for peace operations 
suitable to the size of the force he wishes to employ. It 
is hard enough for the commander of a military district 
with a large force at his disposal, but it is still more 
difficult for the captain of a company, battery, or squadron 
who wishes to train his men for war. 

The suggestions brought forward in this chapter apply 
to any scheme, whether for a Staff Ride, a Regimental Tour, 
or peace operations with troops. If a sound system of 
preparing schemes can be found for one of these exercises, 
it should apply to all. 

There are two distinct methods of approaching this 
subject : the scheme can be evolved entirely from the 
imagination of the author, or it can be derived from some 
incident in military history. If the first system is adopted 
the author must have some knowledge of war and some 
imagination before he can prepare a scheme at all, and it 
is reasonable to suppose that the merit of the scheme will 
depend upon the extent of this knowledge and imagina- 
tion. If therefore we can analyse our knowledge of war, 
we may be able to amve at some basis on which we 
ordinarily prepare a scheme, and then we can consider how 
much imagination is required to improve this into the 
finished article. To judge by some schemes that have 
been worked out in peace time, the author's imagination 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 43 

must have been more extensive than his knowledge of war, 
because facts are stated and situations created which it is 
difficult to realise could occur in real war. But then if we 
study war carefully we find the most impossible situations 
arising, and so perhaps these imaginary schemes are not so 
bad after all. 

In July 1870 who in the world could have told that 
by August 18 nearly the whole German Army would have 
been facing Berlin on the Moselle, opposed to the French 
Army facing Paris ? Again, in April 1877 would any one 
believe that the whole Russian Army advancing to invade 
Turkey would be checked for several months by an en- 
trenched camp at Plevna ? Or again, on June 27, 1866, 
that a whole Prussian division of the Vlth Corps should 
have turned south from its line of advance because an 
Austrian patrol had been seen on the flank ? If we put 
such things as these in a scheme we should be laughed at. 
In peace operations numbers count for everything ; in war 
the determined commander and lack of information count 
for thousands of men. So do not let us abuse a scheme 
because it appears impossible, for we may find that in real 
war the problems we have to solve are even more impossible. 
It is better, however, w hen preparing a scheme for peace 
operations, to avoid the production of a situation, even 
though taken from real war, which is obviously false from 
a strategical point of view, or which demands an unusual 
stretch of the imagination. A good rule to adopt to 
guide us when working out the details of a scheme is to 
avoid the use of detachments ])ushed forward into an 
isolated position in front of the army at the commence- 
ment of a campaign, like General Abel Douay''s detach- 
ment at Weissenburg in 1870, and to omit all conditions 
which necessitate any change in the physical features of 
the country where the peace exercise is actually to take 
place. 



44 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

In this way it is undesirable to make imaginary rivers, 
or to turn a small stream into a wide river, if we propose 
actually to cross the river during the exercise. If, how- 
ever, it is unlikely that it will be necessary to cross it, the 
chief objection, is removed, and the strategical effect of 
such an obstacle on the flank, or even between the oppos- 
ing armies, can be produced without criticism. For 
example, if a scheme is based on the advance of the 
Germans before the engagement at Mars La Tom- in 1870, 
or on the operations of part of Lee''s army during the first 
two days of the battle of Chancellorsville, there would be 
no objection to the supposition that a small stream is turned 
into a big river like the Moselle or the Rappahannock, 
because there would be no occasion actually to cross these 
rivers during the operations which were being practised. 

The same principle applies to mountains, forests, &c., 
which cover a large area, and where the movements of 
troops are confined to a few roads or passes. If it is pro- 
posed actually to carry out the operations in these moun- 
tains, all sorts of impossible situations will arise. If, how- 
ever, the mountains are only required to produce a strate- 
gical situation, or to confine the operations of the opposing 
armies previous to the commencement of the exercise to 
a definite advance or a definite objective, the drawback is 
removed. Thus, if it is desired to prepare a scheme deal- 
ing with the operations of a force when issuing from a 
defile, like those of the Prussians at Nachod, Trautenau, 
and Turnau, of the Germans at Spicheren and Weissen- 
burg, of the Boers at Van Reenen'^s Pass and Laing's 
Nek, or of the Japanese after crossing the Mo-tien-Ling, 
there would be no objection to an assumption that the 
country in rear of the force was mountainous, &c. 

It is also unreal to create imaginary roads, railways, 
canals, woods, swamps, &c., or to blot out any that actually 
exist in the proposed locality for the peace operations. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 45 

No physical features of the country over which the exercise 
will take place or the troops move should be subject to 
any imaginary change. If it is desired for any purpose to 
limit the use of roads, those left available must be clearly 
indicated, and all others described as passable only for 
infantry, cavalry, artillery, or transport, according to the 
requirements of the case. 

It is frequently found necessary to introduce an ima- 
ginary fortress into the scheme of operations. When this 
fortress is placed actually within the area of operations 
and will be approached by one side or the other, the 
locality of the defences, if not the forts themselves, must 
invariably be given. Both sides would know this in real 
war, because though their armament, garrison, trace, pro- 
file, &c., may be kept secret, the fact that a permanent 
fort has been built in a certain locality in peace time is 
apparent to all the world. When this is neglected all 
kinds of false assumptions are adopted by each side during 
the exercise, umpiring becomes more difficult than ever, 
and the instruction imparted is reduced. 

The weather and climatic conditions should be accepted 
as on the day of the exercise; the only occasion when 
some imaginary change would be necessary is when practis- 
ing operations in mountainous country like Wales for the 
purpose of studying mountain warfare against the tribes 
on the north-west frontier of India, or when practising in 
India or South Africa operations which might take place 
in Europe or elsewhere. 

It has already been explained that a comparatively 
small force is required in order to obtain the best results 
from an ordinary peace exercise. During a Staff Ride it is 
desirable to exercise the commanders on each side, who 
will almost invariably be General officers, in the solution 
of strategical as well as of tactical problems. We cannot 
introduce armies into our scheme, and war is not waged 



46 STAFF MDBS AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

with detachments alone, so we are compelled to discover 
a sound strat^cal reason why a detachment should be 
made. By this means the commander is given some inde- 
pendence in his plan of operations, and consequently is 
able to exercise himself in the application of the principles 
of strategy to a definite situation in the proposed theatre 
of war. 

When preparing a scheme for operations with troops, 
or for a Regimental Tour, when the chief object is not to 
train the commanders and staff officers, but to exercise the 
troops in the duties they must perform in front of the 
enemy, there is no great difficulty in producing the re- 
quired detachment, because no great independence of 
action on the part of the commander is required. Thus 
the operations of an advanced or rear guard, a flank attack 
or part of a frontal attack, an outpost position, &c., can 
be practised, the imaginary main body being close at hand. 
Schemes for such operations will be considered in Chapter 
XVII., Regimental Tours, and in Chapter XVIII., Sugges- 
tions for Conducting Tactical Exercises on the Ground. 

For a Staff Ride, or for extensive manoeuvres, a somewhat 
independent detachment is absolutely necessary, and if we 
can arrive at a sound method of creating this detachment 
our chief difficulty in preparing the scheme will be over- 
come. The mistake that has been made sometimes in the 
past is that a detachment has been produced at the very 
commencement of a war. This leads to false strategy and 
lack of realism in the scheme. The first principle of war 
is to concentrate superior force at the decisive point, 
which latter, at the commencement of a campaign, must 
be, almost invariably, the first battle-field. No General, 
if he can help it, will make detachments at such a time, 
and the reasons for making a detachment are not so urgent 
then as later on in the campaign. 

If we go to military history we shall find that com- 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 47 

manders who have commenced operations by dispersing 
their forces in order to be safe everywhere have frequently 
been beaten. The Austrians made unnecessary detach- 
ments in 1866, and the French in 1870 ; and though the 
Germans in both these campaigns exposed themselves to 
defeat in detail by invading on two separate lines, the 
forces of their opponents were so weakened by these de- 
tachments that they were quite unable to derive any 
advantage from the opportunity which the Germans, 
owing to the size of their army, the obstacles to be tra- 
versed, and political reasons, were compelled to offer them. 
The Boers failed to apply the principle of concentration 
in 1899. Instead of assembling their commandoes and 
invading Cape Colony or Lower Natal, they split up their 
forces into several weak detachments, and wasted their 
strength on the siege of certain towns, when far more 
decisive results could have been obtained by concentration 
elsewhere. If further examples are required, they are fur- 
nished by the Turks in 1877 and by the Federals in 1862, 
and even the Confederates in 1863. On each of these 
occasions the dispersion of the army was one of the chief 
causes of failure. 

Later on in a campaign we find that both belligerents 
are compelled to make detachments, either to deceive the 
enemy as to their real intentions, to induce the enemy to 
make a still larger detachment and thus weaken his main 
army, or to guard some vital point. It appears desirable, 
therefore, to select our schemes from the middle of a cam- 
paign rather than from its commencement, and fortunately 
we have numerous models to work on. 

Several schemes that have been prepared for Staff Rides 
in England have commenced by stating that an invading 
army has landed at some coast town on the shores of 
England and is advancing inland. As this invading army 
is too larjge for the purposes of the Staff Ride, a detach- 



48 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

ment is at once introduced. A brigade, division, or army 
corps, according to the size of the force required, is landed 
somewhere else. In order to produce a detachment on 
the other side, the British Army is either widely scattered 
or it has not mobilised, a state of aflTairs which is haidly 
complimentary to the high military authorities who regu- 
late such matters. If we must imagine that an army has 
landed on the shores of England, it would be better to go 
a step further and imagine that England is a foreign 
country ; it is so much more satisfactory to intrude on 
territory belonging to some one else than to have our own 
invaded. From the point of view of a Staff Ride this has a 
further advantage, because we can place the capital, which 
is always a powerful strategical magnet, in a locality which 
is most suitable for our particular scheme. 

It is better, however, not to base the scheme on the 
landing of the force, but to place the two main armies in 
the position required, give the invader a suitable base, 
assume that one or two battles have been fought, and 
then endeavour to discover a sOund strategical reason for 
making a detachment on each side. When formulating 
an imaginary scheme of this nature we shall encounter 
numerous pitfalls, some of which are described below. 

It is a mistake to suppose that a realistic scheme for a 
Staff Ride can be prepared after a few hours' work. We 
must remember that we are endeavouring by means of 
our general and special ideas to present the officers taking 
part in the exercise with at least some portion of the in- 
formation that they would possess in real war. We 
cannot give them all the information, because we should 
have to write a book on the subject, and if we did that 
no one would read it. At the same time, there is no 
occasion to sacrifice instruction to brevity. The scheme 
for a Staff Ride is not like one for a field day or a Regi- 
mental Tour, where there is either very little time to read 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 49 

it, or where it is only desired to produce a small tactical 
situation. Officers taking part in a Staff Ride expect to 
be given an opportunity of studying the application of 
the principles of strategy. The general and special ideas 
can be issued to them several days before the operations 
actually commence, and they will have plenty of time to 
read them, so they need not be very short ; at the same 
time it is desirable to make them as short as possible, 
because officers do not care about reading long schemes. 

If we take a situation from an actual campaign, and 
attempt to describe it to officers who have never heard of 
the campaign before, we shall find that a long account of 
the operations is necessary before they are in possession 
of sufficient information to enable them to formulate a 
definite plan of action. Exactly the same applies to an 
account of an imaginary campaign which is not taken 
from any particular example in history, but is evolved 
from the brain of the directing staff. 

There is always a great deal of general information in 
the possession of officers taking part in a campaign, and 
this has a good deal of effect on the solution of any strate- 
gical or tactical problem. It is difficult to put much ol 
this general information into a scheme for a peace exercise 
without making it unduly long, but it is desirable to 
recognise the most important items, so that we can intro- 
duce them if possible into our general and special ideas. 

Perhaps the most important of all, and the one which is 
most generally neglected in peace time, but is very apparent 
in war, is what is called the moral of the troops. It has 
been proved conclusively in every campaign that a regiment 
of soldiers who believe that they are superior to the enemy, 
and capable of defeating a much larger force than them- 
selves, and who have had practical experience of this during 
the campaign, are more than equal to twice their number 
of hostile troops. It is for this reason that every commander 



50 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

in war is extremely anxious to gain some success, however 
small, at the very commencement of a campaign. 

This feeling of elation or depression amongst the troops 
is very "^apparent to any man who has taken part in a 
campaign, and its effect on the solution of strategical, but 
still more of tactical, problems, is considerable. For 
example, in every operation of war the degree of success 
which may be anticipated is dependent to a great extent 
on the amount of risk which the commander is prepared 
to accept. No man knows before the first shot is fired, in 
any particular campaign or engagement, whether he is 
going to succeed or fail. The man who tries to be safe 
everywhere will certainly fail. The amount of risk a bolder 
man is likely to accept will depend chiefly on the reliance 
he can place in his own ability and determination and on 
that of the men under him. The natural conclusion is 
that if he himself, and the men under him, have great 
belief in their own powers, a greater degree of risk will be 
accepted, the operations will be more vigorous, the initiative 
will be seized, and the enemy will almost certainly discard 
his own plan of operations and conform to the movements 
of his opponent. The result being that, though in the 
first instance considerable risk was incurred, the clanger is 
greatly reduced if the plan adopted is prosecuted with 
vigour and determination, until finally it disappears 
altogether. 

It is difficult and hardly desirable to produce this feeling 
of elation on one side and despondency on the other during 
a peace exercise with troops, but it is apparent even at 
manoeuvres when one side is constantly receiving adverse 
criticism and the other commendation. During a Staff 
Ride or a Regimental Tour the state of moral of the 
troops can only be produced by what is inserted in the 
scheme, or by umpiring ; in any case it should be given due 
weight by the directing staff, so as to prevent officers from 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 51 

doing things in a peace exercise which they would be 
unable to do in real war. For example, if it is proposed 
to practise the action of a rear-guard immediately after a 
defeat, the officer commanding who solved the problem on 
the assumption that all the troops were perfectly fresh and 
ready to do anything that was required of them, either in 
attack or defence, could hardly be praised for his methods. 
He would have paid no attention to the deficiency of 
moral amongst his men, and, having failed to realise the 
true state of the case, would receive no practical instruc- 
tion, unless the error was clearly indicated by the directing 
staff. 

Other points of general information that would be in 
possession of officers in a real campaign can be summarised 
as follows : The peculiar tactics of the enemy, the composi- 
tion of his army, the efficiency of its training, including 
both officers and men, its resources in men and money and 
material. The attitude of neutral Powers, involving the 
necessity for making detachments. The enemy's vital 
points, such as his capital, his lines of communication 
and base, his railway, road, commercial or manufacturing 
centres. His national food-supply. His fortresses, their 
strength and the number (if any) of the field army required 
to garrison them. His system of government, and its 
probable effect on the action of the army. The re- 
sources of the country as regards available supplies, war 
material, &c., which would be useful to the invader. The 
control of the Press, and other matters which would apply 
in special cases. It would not be necessary to bring all 
these points into a scheme, but those which are most im- 
portant, having regard to the class of operation it is 
proposed to practise, should be included in the general 
and special ideas. 

Any operations in which we can possibly take part are 
so bound up with the question of naval supremacy that it 



52 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

is desirable on occasion to practise the embarkation and 
disembarkation of troops and the capture or defence of a 
suitable base. On such occasions it has been ruled by our 
military authorities that the movements of transports and 
the subsequent operations on land should be carried out 
by officers of the Navy and Army working together. By 
this means alone can the military officers realise and help 
to overcome the naval difficulties at sea and during 
embarkation or disembarkation, and the naval officers 
understand and help to surmount the military difficulties 
which will arise on shore. 

The general information which would be in possession 
of officers on both sides, if such an operation was carried 
out in real war, involves a mass of detail regarding the 
action of the opposing fleets which it is not easy to 
abbreviate, and a description of which usually produces a 
somewhat fanciful naiTative. As the Army is not con- 
cerned with the methods employed by the Navy for gaining 
supremacy at sea, and as it is unlikely that any nation will 
accept more risks than those inciu'red by the Japanese in 
transporting troops to Korea in 1904, except perhaps for 
purposes of a raid, it is best to assume in the scheme that 
supremacy at sea has been obtained, and not to enter into 
the methods by which this state of afiairs has been pro- 
duced. If it is desired to lower the moral of the invaders, 
some of the transports can be sunk on their way to the 
enemy's country. If it is required to render the invader's 
sea communications insecure, then the fact must be stated, 
and the reason given in as few words as possible. It is 
preferable, however, to avoid such complications if pos- 
sible, as the operations can be made sufficiently difficult 
without this addition. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME— continued 

Examples of Detachments which can form a Base 
FOE THE Scheme. — We have seen that the operations of 
large forces are unsuitable for the purposes of a Staff Ride, 
or even for peace manoeuvres, so we are compelled to fall 
back on detachments which are made from the main army. 
If therefore we can formulate a list of such detachments 
which have been made in real war, and which are not open 
to serious objection from a strategical point of view, one 
of our chief difficulties in preparing a scheme will be over- 
come. With this object in view, the occasions when de- 
tachments are made and the reasons for making them are 
desci*ibed below, together with an example of each. 

There are many examples of all these various detach- 
ments, but it will be sufficient to quote only one or two for 
each difterent form of detachment. To facilitate descrip- 
tion the detachments on each side are described as Red and 
Blue. 

A. — A Red detachment made to threaten a Blue vital 
point and induce Blue to detach a still larger force, thus 
weakening his main army and enabling Red to concentrate 
superior force against it. For example, if Red has 200,000 
men and Blue 230,000, and red by detaching 20,000 men 
can induce Blue to detach 60,000, the Red main army will 
then be superior in numbers to that of Blue. 

This is the highest purpose to which a detachment can 
be put. It is a curious but very effective manner of 



54 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

applying the first principle of war, the concentration of 
superior force at the decisive point. Detachments have 
been employed in this manner both at the commencement 
and during the progress of a campaign, but for the pur- 
poses of a Staff Ride it is better as a rule to model our 
scheme on the latter. 

An example of such a detachment at the commencement 
of a campaign is afforded by the Germans in 1870, who 
while invading France by the lower Rhine sent small de- 
tachments to make a great demonstration on the upper 
Rhine, and thus induce the French to make a still larger 
detachment and weaken their main army. In this the 
Germans were entirely successful. 

The Turks might have adopted a similar course in 1877, 
by detaching a force to the Dobrudja, and thus inducing 
the Russians to leave a large detachment on the left bank 
of the Danube and weaken their main army near Nikopolis. 
Perhaps the best example of a detachment made for this 
purpose, after the commencement of a campaign, is afforded 
by the operations of the Confederate force under General 
Jackson in the Shenandoah valley in 1862, which would 
form suitable models for several Staff Rides. The reason 
for making this detachment was due chiefly to the physical 
features of Virginia. The Shenandoah valley, flanked by 
hills passable at only a few points, formed a covered way 
to the river Potomac at Harper^s Ferry ; this place was 
only fifty miles from Washington, which was vital to the 
Federals, and which was only open to attack on the left 
bank of the Potomac. Tlie presence of a Confederate 
detachment in the Shenandoah valley induced the Federals 
to make a still larger detachment to guard their capital. 
The result was that the Federals were unable to concentrate 
a sufficiently superior force against the main Confederate 
army near Richmond, and when the Federal army did 
approach that town it was defeated. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 55 

Wellington's detachment uijder Hill to Ciudad Rodrigo, 
when he was about to advance against Marmont in 1810, 
was intended to keep Soult engaged in the south of Spain 
and prevent him from joining Marmont. The physical 
features of Spain and Portugal, as in Virginia, had an 
important bearing on the reasons for making this detach- 
ment ; in fact, from this and other examples it appears that 
there should be some obstacle behind which the detach- 
ment can seek temporary safety in case of need. 

To construct a scheme on this model it is necessary 
first to describe the action of the two main armies, then 
to discover some point which is vital to one of them, and 
finally to produce the two detachments. The locality of 
these detachments should be sufficiently far distant from 
the main armies to obviate any interference from the latter 
during the period of the Staff* Ride. 

For example, we will suppose that the Staff* Ride is to be 
held in England, and that the locality selected is the country 
between Oxford and Gloucester. The scheme might take 
the following form {see Sketch No. 2). Wales, including 
Monmouthshire (Blue), is at war with England (Red), the 
Welsh capital being Brecon and the English capital being 
London. Blue, having a larger army than Red, invades 
England, but fails to dislodge Red from the Cotswold Hills. 
Blue, having command of the sea, then decides to contain 
Red on the line of the Severn, and seizes as a base the large 
and undefended commercial poi-t of Ncwhaven, which is sup- 
posed to be suitable for the disembarkation of a large force. 
Blue intends to advance on London as soon as the whole army 
is assembled near Newhaven. Meanwhile Red has met this 
danger by moving south-east with his main army to cover 
London. In order to create a diversion and induce Blue 
to leave a larger force than necessaiy to cover Brecon, 
Red leaves a detachment at Oxford with orders to move on 
Tewkesbury and endeavom* to gain the right bank of the 



56 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Severn. Blue detaches a larger force than Red to cover 
Brecon and gain a position on the Cotswold Hills. 

The above is a very brief account of a possible scheme 
which would require careful elaboration before it could be 
utilised for a Staff Ride, especially as regards what part of 
it should be put into the general idea, and what into the 
special ideas for Blue and Red. The headquarters of the 
Blue Staff Ride could be at Gloucester or Tewkesbury, and 
that of the Red at Oxford or Chipping Norton. A number 
of variations of the scheme can be made so as to suit local 
requirements in any part of the world. 

B. — A detachment made by a Blue force, acting on in- 
terior lines, with the object of delaying the advance of a 
stronger Red detachment, whilst the main Blue army con- 
centrates superior force against another part of the Red 
army. 

This situation usually arises as a consequence of one 
army operating on two or more lines, and frequently 
involves the action of somewhat larger detachments than 
are suitable for a small Staff Ride, for the sufficient reason 
that armies do not operate on two or more lines unless 
they are in strength on each, or unless one is a feint, and 
the latter method is considered under a different heading. 
When preparing such a scheme a good reason must be 
forthcoming to explain why one army is operating on two 
lines, otherwise false strategy is apt to be introduced. 
Several different reasons are afforded by history, and may 
be summarised as follows : 

(1) When the army is too large to operate on one line 
and would be so strung out that the head of the army 
would be liable to defeat before the rear could come up. 
This was the case in 1870 when the Germans invaded 
France ; vide also (2). 

(2) When, owing to physical obstacles, a sufficiently 
wide front is not available for the army to advance on one 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 57 

line. An example of this is afFordecf by the invasion of 
Bohemia in 1866 by the Prussians ; vide also (4). 

(3) Because, owing to the paucity of railways and roads, 
or their indiflTerent nature, it would be impracticable to 
3upply the army with food, ammunition, &c., on one line. 
This occurred in 1904 with the Japanese in Manchuria. 

(4) Because, owing to political reasons, one of which is 
the desire of the statesman to avert war so long as there 
is any hope of an amicable settlement, an army intended 
for invasion is dispersed, some time elapsing between the 
date of mobilisation and actual invasion, when it would 
be impracticable to concentrate without disclosing the 
intended line of operations. This was the case with the 
Prussians in 1866, and to some extent with the Allies 
in 1815. 

(5) Because, when acting on the defensive, it may be 
considered necessary to guard more than one avenue of 
approach. For example, the Russians in 1904 divided 
their army into two, one force defending the line of 
advance from the Yalu over the Mo-tien-Ling Pass towards 
Liau Yang, and the other defending the approaches from 
the Liau Tung Peninsula. This was also the case to 
some extent with the Confedei'ates in 1861. 

(6) Because the army is furnished by two allied nations, 
each with its own base and with divergent lines of com- 
munication. This was the case in 1815 in Belgium, where 
the British base was at Antwerp, with a subsidiary base at 
Ostend, and where the Prussian line of communication ran 
eastwards through Liege. 

(7) When one army is much stronger than the other, 
as was the case in 1862, where the Federals invaded the 
Confederate States on several lines. In this case, however, 
they were not strong enough at the decisive point, a battle- 
field in Virginia, and consequently failed to bring the 
Confederates to terms. 



58 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

This is by no 'means a comprehensive summary of 
reasons for acting on more than one line, but it is 
sufficient for the immediate purpose, and it would be 
necessary to write several chapters on strategy to explain 
thoroughly all the reasons for such an operation. It 
should be remembered that a commander does not 
willingly operate on more than one line, and only adopts 
such a course when it is the lesser of two evils, and even 
then he is most anxious to concentrate his forces before 
the first important battle is fought, because until he is 
concentrated he is always liable to be defeated in detail. 

It would be difficult to prepare a scheme on this basis, 
unless three divisions were the smallest force operating on 
one line, the enemy ""s containing force consisting of one or 
two divisions. The] country selected for the Staff Ride 
should be suitable for the action of this containing force, 
otherwise it will be enveloped and driven back without 
any difficulty. It is usual to select an area with some 
physical obstacle intervening between the two forces, so 
as to give the containing force a better chance of holding 
its own. 

Very careful umpiring will be necessary, and due weight 
must be given to the holding power of modern weapons. 
There is no occasion for the officer commanding the con- 
taining force to adopt a purely defensive attitude, because 
if he does he will soon be driven back. If, however, he 
takes advantage of any obstacles the invader must cross, 
or any locality where he must change the direction of his 
line of advance, an opportunity will almost invariably be 
afforded him of attacking a small part of the invader'^s 
force. 

A scheme for a large Staff Ride in India, based on this 
idea, might be prepared on the following lines (see Sketch 
No. 3). Rajputana (Red) and the Punjab (Blue) are two 
allied States at war with the North West Provinces 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 59 

(Green). The capital and base of the Red army is 
Jeypore, of the Blue army Lahore, and of the Green army 
Lucknow. The Red and Blue armies together are superior 
in numbers to the Green army. The Red and Blue plan 
of campaign is for the Blue main army, which is larger 
than that of Red, to invade the North West Provinces 
by Agi'a and Cawnpore, and advance on Lucknow. The 
Red army, which consists of two or three divisions and a 
cavalry brigade, is to advance by Delhi and join the main 
army at Agra, using the Sirsah railway as its line of 
supply, the Kurnal railway having been destroyed by 
Green. The Green army, which is superior to Red alone, 
is directed to advance via Agra and Bhurtpore on Jeypore, 
one division and a cavalry brigade being detached to Delhi 
with orders to seize the railway junction at Rewaree and 
delay the advance of the Blue army. The exact position 
of the opposing forces west of Delhi must then be given, 
together with all other details which are necessary, and 
which are described in the summary in Chapter VI. 

C. — A detachment made with the object of deceiving the 
enemy as to the intentions of the General commanding 
the main army, especially when it is obvious that two or 
three distinctly different lines of operation are open to 
the latter. 

A good example of this is afforded by Napoleon's 
advance to Ulm in 1805. He sent his cavalry under 
Murat, supported by part of Lannes** corps, through the 
Black Forest, to deceive the Austrian General Mack as to 
his true line of advance, and with the remainder of his 
army he moved round the left flank of his cavalry, 
gained Mack's line of retreat, and captured a great part 
of his army. 

In the same manner Wellington, when contemplating 
an advance from Poiiugal into Spain, sent detachments to 
the neighbourhood of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, which 



60 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

he had captured from the French. Having thus mystified 
the enemy as to which line he intended to employ, he 
suddenly issued from Ciudad Rodrigo, and eventually 
defeated Marmont at the battle of Salamanca, before 
that General was reinforced. 

General Buller's movement towards Utrecht, at the 
end of May 1900, had a similar effect, because it induced 
the Boers to believe that his main advance was to be 
made on that side, and in consequence he surprised 
them when he appeared at Botha's Pass and turned 
them on the west. 

A detachment of this nature is generally made when an 
invading army is about to traverse an obstacle, the 
obstacle favouring the operation of a small force, because 
its flank cannot easily be turned, or because it can find tem- 
porary safety behind the obstacle, according to the direction 
of the latter. Such a detachment is more suitable for a 
Staff Ride than B, because smaller forces can be employed. 

We will suppose, for example, that a Staff Ride is to be 
held in India, in the neighbourhood of Quetta, where the 
scheme might take the following form {see Sketch No. 4). 
A Red army, assembled in the Pishin district, is opposing 
the advance of a southern army (Blue), based on Kurrachee. 
The southern commander sends forward a detachment up 
the Bolan Pass towards Quetta, to induce the enemy to 
concentrate his army on that side, but intends with his 
main army to advance by the Harnai route. The northern 
commander, uncertain as to which route will be selected 
by the Blue General, sends a detachment to watch or hold 
each, keeping his main army concentrated in Pishin. The 
operations of the two opposing detachments on the Bolan- 
Quetta side would form the scheme for the Staff Ride. 
Any fortification on either route should be considered as 
non-existent. 

D. — A detachment made from ihe fJank of ihe main 
army with the object of gaining the enemy's flank or rear. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 61 

and inducing him to retire from a very strong position 
which cannot be attacked with a reasonable prospect of 
success. 

This is a wider movement than an ordinary flank attack, 
and usually takes several days to complete. The detach- 
ment would be so large, however, that it is hardly suitable 
for an ordinary Staft* Ride — in fact, it has frequently 
happened that the main army has executed the flank 
movement, and the detachment has been left in front of 
the enemy's position, as at Laing's Nek in June 1900, 
when the 2nd division was left at Ingogo, in front of 
Laing's Nek, and General BuUer's main force was moved 
round by Botha's Pass and AUemann's Nek, which were 
successfully carried. 

Probably the best example of this form of detachment 
is afforded by Lee's operations against Pope, when the 
latter was holding a very strong position on the left bank 
of the river Hapidan. Lee knew that reinforcements 
would reach Pope shortly, and that any delay would mean 
that Pope, with greatly superior forces, would be able to 
attack and probably defeat him ; so Lee decided, by 
threatening Pope's rear, to induce him to retire from his 
strong position and offer L^ee a chance of attacking him 
in more favourable circumstances. Jackson was sent by a 
wide detour round Pope's western flank, while Lee kept 
Pope employed by demonstrations along the front. The 
manceuvre was successful, and a few days later Lee, having 
joined Jackson, defeated Pope at the second battle of 
Bull Run. 

This is of course a very daring operation, and requires a 
determined commander to adopt it, and a still more deter- 
mined subordinate to carry it through with any chance of 
success ; but it would form a good scheme for a Staff* Ride, 
one party of officers representing the detachment under 
Jackson, and the other party the detachment first sent 
by Pope to cover his line of retreat. 



62 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

A modification of this idea is illustrated by Wellington's 
operations before the battle of Vittoria, where he sent 
Beresford's force through very difficult country to gain the 
French line of retreat on the Bayonne road and, by com- 
pelling the French to detach troops to that side, hoped 
to be able to attack them successfully in front. This 
manoeuvre was completely successful, and the French were 
driven back to the Pyrenees with a loss of all their guns 
and transport. 

If a scheme for a Staft* Ride is to be founded on this 
idea, it is necessary to discover a position sufficiently strong 
to warrant the detachment round the flank, and such a 
position cannot be selected without a local knowledge of 
the ground. If the Staff Ride is to be held in England, a 
suitable position exists on the line of small hills on the 
left bank of the Severn between Gloucester and Tewkesbury 
{see Sketch No. 5). The scheme might then closely follow 
Lee's operations in 1862. 

A Red force awaiting reinforcements from the south- 
west is covering the passages of the Severn between 
Gloucester and Tewkesbury, and has constructed several 
bridges. A Blue army advancing from the east finds this 
position too strong to attack with any chance of success, 
and the commander decides to despatch a detachment to 
effect a crossing north of Tewkesbury and compel the 
enemy to withdraw to guard his line of retreat, or at least 
to detach so many troops in that direction that an attack 
on his main position will become practicable. 

This is a situation which would form a good scheme for 
a Staff Ride for the following reasons. The size of the 
detachment need not be very great, because when the 
Severn has been crossed the eastern flank of the Blue 
detachment, as it moves south, will be protected by the 
river, and as the Red reinforcements are coming from 
the south-west, and not from the west or north-west, 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 6V> 

there would be no great danger of its being enveloped and 
cut off. The Red force would be compelled either to 
detach to its rear or else to attack to its front, and the 
latter course could be made impracticable by fortification. 

The operations of the two detachments would thus form 
the scheme for the Staff Ride. 

E. — A detachment made before an attack with the sole 
object of cutting off the enemy^s line of retreat, pursuing 
him, or confining his retreat to one desired direction, whilst 
the main army attacks him and drives him back, unaided 
by the detachment. 

This method is distinctly opposed to the first principle 
of war, the necessity for concentrating superior force at 
the decisive point, and when applied by a commander he 
has usually either moral or physical superiority over the 
enemy. It should be clearly understood, when such a 
detachment is made, that the remainder of the army must 
at once attack and drive back the enemy, for if there is any 
delay, the enemy is afforded an opportunity of defeating 
the detachment, as occurred at Nicholson's Nek in 1899 ; 
and furthermore, even if the enemy decides to retire with- 
out giving battle, he can attack the isolated detachment 
on his way. 

It is a favourite method of dealing with savage or semi- 
civilised foes, because, owing to the moral superiority of 
highly disciplined troops, there is no fear of the main force 
being defeated, and it is unlikely that the attack of the 
main force will fail, or that the safety of the detachment 
will be seriously endangered. 

The passage of the Douro by Wellington in 1809 
affords a good example of this form of detachment, because 
owing to the direction of the rivers, and of the roads 
that Soult could retire by, Wellington was able to detach 
Beresford with 6000 infantry and 1000 cavalry to block 
Soulfs line of retreat without exposing Beresford to serious 



64 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

danger, whilst Wellington himself attacked Soult and 
drove him back. 

This method of making war was the chief cause of the 
Federal failures in 1862-3. The Americans called it 
"anaconda strategy ,^^ because the Federals were always 
trying to surround the Confederates. They always failed 
because the essential adjunct, a determined and immediate 
attack in front, did not follow. 

For example, at Chancellorsville Hooker sent nearly 
the whole of his cavalry to cut off the Confederate line of 
retreat, but instead of attacking the Confederates in a 
determined manner, he halted and occupied a defensive 
position at the critical moment. Then, having no 
cavalry, he was unable to gain any information as to what 
the Confederates were doing, whilst the latter under Lee, 
with all their cavalry, obtained ample information of 
Hooker's movements, and were able to surprise and defeat 
him. 

So it appears that any scheme for a Staff Ride based on 
this idea must be prepared with due consideration of the 
dangers attaching to such an operation, and the main 
attack must be pushed home at once. Taking these 
points into consideration, it is not very suitable for a 
Staff Ride, unless one side is represented entirely by 
cavalry. Assuming that it is required to hold a Stafl* 
Ride in South Africa, in the neighbourhood of 
Bloemfontein, the scheme might take the following form 
{see Sketch No. 6) 

A superior Red force, based on Colesberg, has driven 
back the Blue army, based on Pretoria, to the line of the 
Modder river about Glen Siding. The railway has been 
repaired between Colesberg and Bloemfontein, and Red 
has received information that it is in working order from 
Pretoria to Allemann's Siding, and that there is a large 
amount of rolling stock collected at Brandfort. The Red 



THE PliEPAllATlOM OF THE SCHEME 



65 



I 



Cotnmandeu has decided to detach one division and one 
cavalry brigade to cross the Moddei* about twenty-two 
miles west of Glen siding, with orders to move on 
Brandfort, and cut off' the Hhie line of mtreatj while he 
attacks the Blue force on the Madder river. 

It would be necessary to form a small camp on the 
Modder for the Red side^ and the Blue force, which 
would be composed entirely of cavalry guarding the west 
flank of the Blue nnny, could be represented by a party 
of officers having their lieatltjuarters at Brandfort, if 
suitable accommodation could be found there. The dates 
in the general and .sjieclal ideas must be carefully 
worked out, to ensure that the move on Brandfort will 
take place the same day that the attack is made on the 
enemy's main position, and the main attack at Glen 
siding should be made against the enemy's western flankj 
though of coiu^se this part of the operation would not 
actually be conducted by the officei^ taking part in the 
Staff' Hide. 

F. — A detachment made in connection with the attack or 
defence of a fortress, to cover or raise a siege. 

There are several examples in history of this form of 
detachmentj and almost any one of them won Id furnish a 
good si^heme for a Staff Ride, because a comparatively 
small detachment can be employed. 

The actual attack and defence of a fortress cannot be 
practised during a Staff Hide unless the fortress is actually 
existing, with its permnnent works, Jinnament, garrison, 
Sic; if not, so much imagination is required tJmt no 
valuable instruction is obtaincfh The existence of the 
fortress is not necessary, however, when it is desired to 
confine the operations to the action of a covering force 
opposing a hostile detachment which is endeavouring to 
raise the siege^ Ijecanse the locality of the permanent works 
will be at a distance from the actual scene of o[>erations. 



66 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

When pi'eparing a scheme founded on this idea, the 
principles of strategy which apply to fortresses must be 
borne in mind. The ordinary situation which arises is 
that an advancing army encounters a fortress, detaches a 
force either to besiege or mask it, and continues on its 
way to deal with the enemy's main army. Then after one 
or more battles follows the usual pause which occurs in 
almost every campaign, when each side for some reason 
is compelled to halt, and when each commander is 
meditating some fresh move in order to get into a better 
position for defeating his enemy. This is the period when 
the defending army sends a detachment with the definite 
object of either raising the siege of the fortress in order to 
supply it with the means for a more prolonged defence in 
the future, or, by defeating the besieging force and 
raising the siege, of disturbing the safety of the enemy's 
line of supply and inducing him to detach a still stronger 
force to avert the danger, thus weakening his main army 
and affording a possible opportunity for successful attack. 

The scheme for the Staff Ride in such a case would be 
based on the operations of the detachment covering the 
siege and the detachment sent to raise it, and the necessary 
details obtained from one of the following examples. 

At the end of 1870 and beginning of 1871 a German 
detachment under von Werder was besieging Belfort, a 
French fortress on the southern flank of the German lines 
of communication from Paris to the Rhine (see Sketch 
No. 7). The French National Army was assembling on 
the Loire, and, in order to prevent any interference with 
the siege from that direction, a detachment from the besieg- 
ing troops was despatched westwards. A large French 
force under General Bourbaki was sent by rail from the 
Loire to defeat this covering force, raise the siege of 
Belfort, and then strike north against the German lines of 
communication. The forces employed on this occasion 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 67 

would be too large for a Staff Ride, but they could be 
reduced, without offending the principles of strategy, by 
slightly changing the French plan of operations and the 
existing conditions. 

It would be assumed in the scheme that the French 
army was a regularly constituted force, and not a collec- 
tion of hastily raised units deficient in training and disci- 
pline, as was actually the case. Instead of despatching the 
whole of Bourbaki's army towards Belfort, a detachment 
of one or two divisions and a cavalry brigade might be 
sent, with the object of endeavouring to raise the siege, 
but in any case to induce the Germans to detach troops 
from Paris to assist in covering the siege and guarding 
their lines of communication. The remainder of Bourbaki's 
army could then join Chanzy's army, and advancing 
against the Germans near Paris, endeavour to raise the 
siege of the capital. On the German side the force under 
von Werder could be represented by one division and some 
cavalry, covering the siege, and one division actually 
besieging the place. 

Similar situations arose at Ladysmith and Kimberley, 
where the Boers detached troops to the south to cover the 
investment of those places, and were attacked by British 
detachments. 

The advance of General Stackelberg**s corps in June 
1904 to relieve Port Arthur is hardly a good example 
either for a Staff* Ride or to illustrate the particular form 
of detachment under consideration. The operation is 
universally condemned on strategical lines, because the 
Japanese Second Army, with command of the sea, by cap- 
turing the Nan Shan position on 27th May could contain 
the garrison of Port Arthur. The Japanese were not yet 
involved in the siege of the fortress, and consequently 
could make use of nearly their whole army to defeat 
Stackelberg, which tbey did on 14th-15tb June at Tellissu. 



68 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

After the battle of Salamanca in 1812 Marmont's de- 
feated army retired on Burgos, whither Wellington, after 
occupying Madrid, followed them. He then laid siege to 
the castle of Burgos, the French falling back towards the 
Ebro ; but he discovered that he was not strong enough to 
follow the French whilst the siege was on his hands, and 
after failing to carry the place by assault, he was compelled 
to retire owing to a concentration of superior numbers 
against him. 

A parallel case occurred in 1877 at Kars. The 
Russians had defeated the Turks at Aladja Dagh and 
driven them back on Kars. The Russians then advanced 
on Kars and invested it, the defeated Turks retiring 
farther west. The Russians were unable to pass Kars 
and follow up the Turks, but, unlike Wellington, they 
succeeded in carrying the fortress by assault. 

Either of these examples would form a suitable scheme 
for a Staff Ride, because on each occasion the defeated 
troops assisted by the fortress might have attacked the 
besieging troops, who must then either detach a covering 
force, or raise the siege and fight an enemy, under circum- 
stances disadvantageous to themselves, with a hostile 
fortress close behind them. 

We will suppose that a Staff Ride is to be held in the 
neighbourhood of York. The scheme might then take 
the following form (sec Sketch No. 8). A Scottish army 
has invaded England through Cumberland, Westmorland, 
and West Yorkshire, has laid siege to the fortress of 
Carlisle, defeated the English army at a battle east of 
Lancaster, and is now holding the line Manchester-Leeds. 

The railway bridge south of Annan has been destroyed 
by the English, but the Edinburgh-Newcastle-Northal- 
lerton railway, which was only slightly damaged, is in 
working order. Northallerton is a small English fortress, 
which is being besieged by two Scotch divisions, with the 



w 



I 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 69 

chit'f" object uf gaining posjsessiaii of the railway junction at 
t hat piii 11 1 , A t presc 11 1 1 he Sc'o 1 1 i sh ar in y i s be i ng sii pp Hed 
by the Durham, Barnard Castle, Kirkby Stephen, is kip ton 
railway, which is inadequate for ib rec|uiremeMt«. 

The naval stren^^th of each belhgei-ent is jnsigniHcant, 
but the English have sufficient destroyers in their harbouns 
to obviate the probability of any extensive movement of 
Scottish tix>ops by ^sea, 

The main English army h eoUeetetl about Sheffield, and 
each side is organising for fm^ther operations. Informa- 
tion having l>een received at ShL^ffield that the garrison of 
Northallerton requires strengthening, the English eoni- 
mander decides to despatch one and a half infantry divi- 
sions and one cavalry brigade vm Hull to raise the siege, 
reinforce the garrison, and then retire to the main army. 
The Staff Ride would then follow the operations of the Hidl 
detachment and the troops besieging Northallerton, the 
latter of course being compelled to send a covering force 
to 'Jliirsk or south-east of it. 

G. — A detachment made with the object of protecting 
the lines of communication of an army and also of guanling 
is flank. 

This situation can hardly arise unless the lines of com- 
liinnication run back diagonally to the fixmt of the army, 
and when a battle is imminent. These conditions existed 
on the right of the Japanese army just before the battle 
of the Shaho at the b^inning of October 1904-, when 
Kuroki despatched a detatdiment to guard the right flank 
of the First Army and protect its line of communication 
throngh Penshihu. 

A somewhat similar example is afforded by the much- 
criticised detachment sent by Wellington to Hal, imme- 
diately l>etbre the Ijattle of Waterloo. 

Unless the available information indicates pressing 
danger cm the flank j such a detachment is strategically 



70 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

unsound, because it means that the main army is weakened 
at the decisive point, the prospective battle-field, and the 
first principle of strategy is neglected. Even when danger 
is apparent, the detachment should be reduced to the 
smallest possible size, as was done by the Japanese in the 
example quoted above. The officer commanding such a 
detachment has a most difficult task to perform. He must 
guard both the flank of the army and the lines of com- 
munication. One of these duties ties him closely to the 
main army, and the other frequently draws him away 
from it. It is difficult for him to discover whether the 
enemy in front of him is in superior strength or not, and 
consequently whether he should adopt a defensive or 
offensive attitude. If the enemy is in small force, that 
force may be containing a larger detachment, part of which 
should be with the main army, where alone decisive results 
can be obtained. 

We will suppose that a Staff Ride is to be held near 
Ladysmith in Natal, where a scheme based on this idea 
might take the following form {see Sketch No. 9). The 
Blue and White allied armies, originally inferior to Red, 
have been falling back in order to concentrate, and are 
now about to offer battle in a position facing south with 
their right flank resting on Wagon Hill. The Blue line 
of communication nms back through Van Reenen's Pass 
to Bloemfontein, and the White over Laing''s Nek to 
Pretoria. The general plan of the allies is to await Red's 
attack, and for the Blue army, which is on the right, 
to adopt a defensive attitude, whilst the White army 
attacks Red when the latter is committed to an attack on 
Blue. The Blue commander decides to detach one infantry 
brigade with some artillery and cavalry to the neighbour- 
hood of Besters (or any convenient spot south-west of it), 
to guard his right flank and his line of communications 
through Van Reenen's Pass. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 71 

The Red commander has decided to make his main 
attack against the allied left wing from the direction of 
Pietei-s and east of it, but three days before the battle 
despatches one and a half infantry brigades, two regiments 
of cavalry, and one brigade of field artillery to demon- 
strate against the allies'" right and rear and induce them to 
detach troops in that direction. The Red detachment 
might be sent from Estcourt by Springfield towards 
Besters. The operations of the Red and Blue detach- 
ments would form the subject for the Staff Ride. 

H. — A detachment made to guard the flank of an army, 
when advancing, retiring, or stationary. 

As a rule such detachments are merely flank guards ; 
they are tied to the main army, have little freedom of 
action, and consequently are unsuitable for a Staff* Ride. 
Occasions occur, however, where, owing chiefly to the 
physical features of the theatre of war, these detachments 
are called upon to operate at some distance from the main 
army. When Wellington was advancing on Madrid, in 
1812, after his victory at Salamanca, Hill was ordered to 
march from Badajoz, along the valley of the Tagus, and 
protect Wellington's southern flank from any interference 
by Soult. During this march Hill was completely severed 
from Wellington till the two forces converged on Madrid. 

When the Russians crossed the Danube, at the end 
of June 1877, detachments were sent to the west to 
guard the right flank of the army against the Turkish 
troops at Widin, and others were sent to the east to 
protect the left flank of the army towards the river Lom 
{see Sketch No. 19). These detachments, especially the 
one sent to Plevna on the west, required so many re- 
inforcements that the main army gradually disappeared 
and the invasion was brought to a standstill, only a small 
detachment being left to secure the passage of the Balkans 
to the south. 



72 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

In November 1805 Napoleon, who had captured part of 
the Austrian army at Ulm, was advancing down the right 
bank of the Danube, driving back the remainder of the 
Austrians under KutusofF, who was expecting to be re- 
inforced shortly by a Russian army advancing from the 
north-east through Moravia {see Sketch No. 10). 

There were only three bridges over the Danube in this 
part of its course, one at Lintz, another at Mautern, and 
the third at Vienna. Lintz to Mautern is 60 miles, and 
Mautern to Vienna 40 miles. On his arrival at Lintz 
Napoleon collected a flotilla of boats to enable him to 
cross the Danube if necessary, because, owing to the direc- 
tion from which the Austrians were expecting the Russian 
reinforcements, it was possible that Kutusoft* might cross 
at Mautern or Vienna and destroy the bridge behind him. 

To protect this flotilla and also to cover the passage of 
his army, if necessary. Napoleon detached Mortier**s corps 
to the left bank and directed him to keep a little behind 
the leading troops of the French army which was advanc- 
ing on Vienna along the right bank. On arrival at 
Mautern, KutusofF crossed to the left bank, Mortier's 
leading division attacked the Austrians, believing them to 
be merely a rear-guard, and the French division was prac- 
tically annihilated ; the remnants of Mortier''s corps then 
recrossed to the right bank by means of the boats. 

Of course, this was a dangerous detachment to make, 
but as the flotilla of boats was necessary and there was no 
means of transporting them on land, they required pro- 
tection. If Mortier had been more careful he would not 
have allowed his leading division to enter a defile and be 
attacked in front, on the north flank, and in rear, which 
was what actually occurred. A similar situation might 
arise if a force was advancing along one bank of a river 
and was relying on that river for transportation of supplies. 
In either case the situation could be utilised for a Staft* Ride. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 73 

The Austrian force must be reduced, as it is too big for a 
Staff* Hide, but this could easily be done by sending a detach- 
ment to delay the advancing detachment and gain time for 
the Austrians to cross the river and get well away to join 
their reinforcements. Although Kutusoft* defeated Mor- 
tier's detachment, the delay very nearly resulted in his 
army being defeated and cut off* from the Russian re- 
inforcements, and it would have been better strategy 
merely to delay Mortier''s corps as suggested above. 

A suitable locality for such a scheme could be found with- 
out difficulty in many parts of the Empire, and as it is not 
necessary for the detachment actually to cross the river 
during the period of the Staff* Ride, there would be no 
objection to making use of a river smaller than the Danube, 
on the understanding that bridges only existed at the re- 
quired points and that elsewhere it was unfordable. 

I. — A detachment made solely with the object of guard- 
ing the lines of communication of an army, or some vital 
point at a distance from the main army such as the 
capital, a great railway centre, an important pass, or a sea 
base. 

This is perhaps a more frequent source of detachments 
than any other. Sometimes the detachment is made for 
suiBcient reason, but more frequently it violates the first 
principle of war, and is caused by the desire of the com- 
mander or the Government to be safe everywhere. If an 
army at the end of a long line of communications can win 
battles, the communications can look after themselves. If 
they are too carefully guarded, the army in front will not 
be strong enough to win a battle ; it will be driven back, and 
the troops guarding the communications will be wasted. 
If, on the other hand, they are not guarded at all, the 
supplies necessary to keep the army alive will be at the 
mercy of the hostile inhabitants or of a hostile raid. It is 
the task of the commander to study these questions and 



74 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

decide upon the minimum number that can be employed 
for this duty without undue risk. 

At the beginning of May 1862 Jackson decided to move 
west from Swift Run Gap across the front of Banks' force, 
which was at Harrisonburg, and to defeat Fremont's troops 
who were threatening Staunton from the north-west (see 
Sketch No. 11). In order to safeguard his line of com- 
munication and of retreat on Richmond, he left a detach- 
ment under Ewell at Swift Run Gap. This detachment, 
owing to the physical features of the country, was fairly 
safe from attack by Banks, and, if Banks moved south on 
Staunton to cut off Jackson's retreat, Ewell would be on 
Banks' flank and rear. A scheme for a Staff Ride could be 
based on such an idea, provided it is assumed that Banks 
actually moved south on Staunton and detached a force 
to guard his flank against Ewell, Banks' and Ewell's de- 
tachments being represented by the two sides on the Staff 
Ride. The country selected for the exercise must contain 
some physical obstacles, either rivers or hills, to represent 
the Massanuttons and Blue Ridge mountains, otherwise 
the operations could not be practised. 

In 1877, after the Russian main army had reached the 
Danube near Nikopolis, a detachment was left to guard 
the lines of communication near Galatz. This was a very 
vulnerable point, because it was known that a powerful 
Turkish force was in the neighbourhood of Shumla 
150 miles to the south, and that Turkish detachments 
were just south of the Dobrudja. The only redeeming 
points for the Russians were the extraordinary supine- 
ness of the Turks, and the fact that the Danube, which 
is a formidable obstacle near Galatz, flowed between the 
Turks and the Russian road and rail communications, which 
ran through that town. A vigorous offensive by a Turkish 
detachment from Shumla against a Russian detachment in 
the Dobrudja would form a good scheme for a Staff Ride. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 75 

In 186J2 Federal detachments were sent to the 
Shenandoah valley to guard the capital by covering 
Harper's Ferry. Several different schemes based on this 
idea could be prepared by any officer who was conversant 
with the details of the campaign. 

In 1904 Japanese detachments were left at Wiju and 
other places along the line of communication of Kurpki's 
army with Korea, all of them exposed to a Cossack raid 
from the north. 

Speaking generally, the best form for a scheme based on 
this idea is to produce a line of communication with one 
or two exceptionally vulnerable points like Staunton, 
Galatz, Wiju, &c., place a flying column to protect the 
line, and then make a raid against it, either with all arms, 
as might be the case in the first two examples, or with 
cavalry and horse artillery, as might have been done in 
the last. 

We will suppose that the Staff* Ride is to be held near 
Banbury, where there is some good ground for the opera- 
tions of a small force {see Sketch No. 12). 

The 52nd degi'ee of latitude is the frontier line between 
Red on the north and Blue on the south. 

The Red capital is Manchester, and the Blue capital is 
Winchester. London is unfortified, and is the largest com- 
mercial town in the Blue kingdom. The Thames is a 
river 100 to 300 yards wide. The Red army, superior 
in numbers to Blue, has advanced from the line Northamp- 
ton-Cambridge to the line Maidenhead-London, and is 
about to cross the Thames, but is delayed by a lack of 
bridging material. All the railways in Blue land on the 
left bank of the Thames have been destroyed, together 
with all the bridges at and below Oxford. 

The Blue army offered very slight resistance north of 
the Thames, but is believed to be concentrating some- 
where near Reading. 



76 STAFF BIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The Red commander is anxious for the safety of his 
line of communication through Northampton, and has 
detached one division and two regiments of cavalry to 
the right bank of the Cherwell at Banbury, to guard that 
flank. 

The Blue army is concentrating on the line Woking- 
ham-Farnborough, with the object of attacking the Red 
army when in the act of crossing the Thames. The Blue 
commander, hearing of the Red detachment at Banbvu-y, 
realises the fact that Red is over-anxious regarding the 
safety of his line of communications, and decides to in- 
ci*ease his anxiety and induce Red to detach more troops 
in that direction by sending one and a half divisions and 
one cavalry brigade along the right bank of the Thames 
and Cherwell rivers to Banbury, this detachment is to 
cross the Cherwell at Banbury and raid Red's line of com- 
munications. 

The officers on the Red side could stay at Banbury, 
and those on the Blue side at Oxford. 

J. — A detachment made with the object of attacking the 
enemy in rear, whilst the remainder of the force attacks 
the enemy in front 

This is a favourite manoeuvre when dealing with savage 
or semi-civilised foes, because, owing to the superior moral 
of the troops, there is not much danger of the detachment 
being cut off or defeated. In war between civilised 
nations, where the moral of the troops on one side is 
much the same as that on the other, it is a dangerous 
operation, only resorted to for some special reason, such 
as to force the passage of a defile. 

In July 1877, immediately after the Russians had 
crossed the Danube, their advance guard, under General 
Gourko, composed of 8000 infantry, 4000 cavalry, and 
32 guns, was sent forward to gain possession of one 
of the passes over the Balkans {see Sketches Nos. 13 and 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 77 

19). Goitrka discovered that the Shipka Pass wan strangly 
held by the Turks, but that a ftwtpath existetl ^1 
miles to the east, called the Hankioi Pass, which was 
nndefendeci Leaving a detachment, which was subse- 
quently reiriforeed fi'oni the main body, to attack the 
Shipka Pass from the north, he crossed the Balkans with 
the reniaiudcr of his advanced guard, intending that a 
siniultaneou^a attack should be made on the Shipka Pass 
from the north and the south at daylight on July 17. 
The attack from the north was delivered as arranged, but 
failed. Gourko himself was delayed by the Turks, and 
could not attaek from the south till the 18th, when his 
attack also failed. Next day the Turks dispersed, and the 
pas.s was captured without further fighting. If a scheme 
for a Sbaft" Ride is based on this idea, the ofticers represent- 
ing the Turkish side should be given the detachment 
which was driven Imck by Gourko at the south end of the 
Hankioi Pass and the detachment at Kazan lik, and also, 
if cx>nsidered necessary, the detachment holding the summit 
of the Shipka Pass, It wouhJ make a better scheme for a 
single Staff' Ride than for one where each side is represented 

^^ by a party of oHicers, 

^P The brittle of Jena in 1806 affords an example of a 
similar detachment, though it was ordered by Napoleon 
owing to a uiisconeeption of the enemy's position and 
intention {see Sketch No. 14), Karly tm October 14j 
1806, Napoleon had assembled neat'ly the whole of his 

^- anny at Jena, and belie vtxl that the whole IVussian army 

I^B was in front of him. He onlcred the two corps on his 
right J <me to Dornberg, and the other under Da^oust from 
Naumhurg, to Apolda, to fall upon the Prussiat! rear, 
wliilst he attacked in front. The result was that Napoleon 
defeated the Prussians near Jena, but their main army was 
marching straiirht on Davoust, mIio succeeded in holdiiig 
his gt^ound near Auerstatltj rt^pulsed the consecutive attacks 




78 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

made by the Prussian divisions as they arrived on the 
ground, and finally, assuming the offensive, completely 
defeated them. 

This form of detachment is best suited for an exercise 
in mountain warfare against tribesmen, or else merely as 
part of an enveloping movement made against the flank 
of an enemy's position, like the Russian advance under 
Rennenkampf against the Japanese right rear at the battle 
of Sha-ho, or like Jackson's movement round Hooker's 
right flank and rear at the battle of Chancellorsville, 
where Jackson was mortally wounded. Other examples of 
this form of detachment can frequently be found when 
studying the attack and defence of a range of moimtains 
like the Pvrenees, and sometimes when the line of a river 
has to be forced. 

K. — A detachment made with the object of blocking 
a defile. 

Wherever there is a defile there must necessarily be an 
obstacle on either side of it, usually a range of mountains 
or a river. Strategy teaches us that the best way to defend 
such an obstacle, if we cannot get it well behind us, is to 
watch or hold lightly all the avenues of approach, keep the 
main army concentrated in rear, and when the enemy's main 
line of advance is disclosed to attack him before his army 
is clear of the defile. ITiis is no doubt quite sound in 
theory, but human nature enters largely into the solution 
of problems in war, and when we go to military history we 
generally find that strong detachments are sent forward 
actually to defend the defile itself, especially when it is 
formed by a range of hills, just as the Russians did in 
1904. When the defiles are merely watched, the main 
army does not always arrive in time to attack the enemy 
issuing from the defile, as occun*ed with the Austrians in 
1866. If a suitable defile can be found, this form of 
detachment, coupled with one of the others already dis- 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 79 

cussed, would form an interesting scheme for a Staff Ride, 
especially if it was desired to exercise the officers on one side 
in the selection of defensive positions in a defile, and on 
the other side in the attack on such a position. For the 
purpose of the exercise the attack might succeed, and the 
defenders when driven back, might be given some rein- 
forcement, and then themselves attack from the other side, 
as occurred at the Mo-tien-Ling, which was captured by 
the Japanese on June 27, 1904, and unsuccessfully attacked 
by the Russians Under Count Keller on July 17. There 
are many examples in history of this type of detachment : 
in the Pyrenees in 1813, in the Bohemian mountains in 
1866, the Balkans in 1877, the Boer War 1900-1, and 
during the advance of the F'irst Japanese Army from the 
Yalu to Liaou Yang in 1904. Nachod and Trautenau in 
1866 are familiar to most officers, and either would form a 
suitable basis for a small Staff Ride, the detachment on 
the Prussian side being supplied by the advanced guard, 
with the main body strung out on a bad road in rear, and 
the dates being carefully arr^mged so that the opposing 
detachments reach the exit from the defile about the same 
time, which was what actually occurred in 1866. As in the 
last example, the Prussian detachment might gain the exit 
and hold it, and on the second day the Austrian detach- 
ment might attack the Pi-ussians. A local knowledge of 
ground is necessary to select a suitable defile, but many can 
be found in the United Kingdom or in almost any colony 
or dependency of the Empire. 

. L. — A detachment made to the front or the flank of an 
army to cover the crossing of a difficult obstacle, or to cover 
a change of direction. 

This is the moment when a commander in modem war, 
with an inferior army, may hope to attack and defeat his 
enemy in detail. He will not attack with a detachment, 
but wit;h bfe whole army, so the idea is not suitable for an 



80 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

oixlinary Staif Ride, but could be utilised for a single Staff 
Ride. A great many schemes based on the idea of sending 
forward a detachment in front or on the flank of the army 
have been worked out during Staff Rides in England, but it 
should be remembered that such a detachment, unless there 
is good reason for it, is absolutely opposed to the princi- 
ples of strategy and may lead to defeat in detail, as already 
explained in Chapter III, p. 46. When, however, an 
army is advancing, and it is necessary for it to cross an 
obstacle or change direction, such detachments are abso- 
lutely necessary, and the commander can only hope that 
he will not be heavily attacked before the operation is 
completed. It is surprising what a number of opportuni- 
ties for offensive action have been neglected when this 
situation has arisen. 

In 1866 the Austrians, with better arrangements, might 
have attacked and defeated the Crown Prince's army 
issuing from the Trautenau, Eipel, and Nachod passes 
before the remainder of the Prussian army could have come 
to its assistance. 

In 1870 the German Third Army, when changing direc- 
tion to the west after the battle of Weissenburg, exposed 
the Vth Corps to attack by a superior French force under 
MacMahon. Similarly the First and Second German Armies 
after the battle of Spicheren, when changing direction to 
the west, and later on after crossing the Moselle, exposed 
their flank troops to an attack by superior hostile 
troops. 

The Russians when crossing the Danube in 1877 might 
also have been attacked by the Turks, if the latter had 
made any attempt to concentrate and assume the offensive. 

In 1904 the Russians might have attacked the First 
Japanese Army when it was issuing from the mountain 
defiles east of the Liaou Yang valley. 

On all these occasions, and on many pthers, favourable 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 81 

opportunities have occurred for an inferior defending force 
to attack the invader with a fair chance of success. 

In 1809 Napoleon after occupying Vienna decided to 
cross to the left bank of the Danube and attack the 
Austrian army under the Archduke Charles. He selected 
the island of Lobau as the point of passage, and seized the 
villages of Essling and Aspern to cover the crossing. The 
Austrian army was concentrated twelve miles farther up 
the river, and the Archduke immediately advanced and 
attacked the French while they were crossing. The battle 
lasted two days, and though Napoleon held the villages 
and was constantly being reinforced from the right bank 
of the Danube, he suffered his first defeat, and was driven 
back to the island of Lobau with a loss of over 30,000 
men. 

As it would be undesirable to employ such large forces 
on a Staff* Ride, and as it would be difficult to reduce the 
numbers on each side without creating a somewhat unreal 
situation, this form of detachment does not appear to meet 
our requirements, though for a large Staff* Ride it might 
afford an instructive situation. 

M. — A detachment made with the object of raiding the 
enemy's line of communication, either to obtain informa- 
tion as to his movements, to destroy an important railway 
or magazine, or to induce him to fletach troops from his 
main army to protect his line of supply. 

This is a form of detachment which could be usefully 
employed in conjunction with I. above, the raiding 
force being composed of cavalry and some horse artillery, 
represented on the Staff* Ride by officers belonging to those 
arms. 

In June 1862 General Stuart, with 1200 Confederate 
hoi*semen and a section of artillery, rode right round the 
Federal army, destroyed a large amount of military stores, 
burnt a railway bridge, gained the most valuable informa- 



64 S'TAFIP RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the concentric movement on Richmond. Abercrombie at 
Wan*enton was also protecting Washington on the south- 
west and maintaining communication with Banks in the 
Shenandoah valley. Abercrombie's detachment at War- 
renton would form a good scheme for a Staff Ride. He 
had about 4000 infantry and a few cavalry and guns ; his 
right flank was secured by General Banks in the Shenan- 
doah valley, and his left by McDowell opposite Fredericks- 
burg. When Jackson moved west against Fremont's 
troops and Ewell was left on Banks' flank, an advance 
by Abercrombie would have produced interesting results. 
The Confederate detachment south-west of Warrenton 
could not have been greatly reinforced by Ewell at Swift 
Run Gap, because he had as much as he could do to look 
after Banks. The scheme given below is based chiefly on 
this situation. In any campaign where the army is 
operating on a wide front, detachments of this nature 
will be found, in 1870, 1877, 1900, and 1904-5. They 
are also of common occurrence in warfare against mountain 
tribes or guerillas. 

We will suppose that the Staff* Ride is to be held in 
India in the neighbourhood of Bangalore (see Sketch 
No. 16). 

Blue, with command of the sea and with superior 
military power and resources, is at war with Red. The 
frontier between the two countries is represented by a 
straight line drawn through Chengalput and Kolar. 
The Blue capital is Chitoor, and the red capital 
Trichinopoly. 

Blue advanced against Red, but was defeated at the 
battle of Tripatoor, and retired on Chitoor. After 
reorganising their army and sending detachments towards 
Tripatoor and Bangalore to guard the two approaches to 
Chitoor, east and west of the eastern Ghauts, Blue embarked 
a large army at Madras, seized a base at Negapatam, and 



w 



THE PREPARATION OF TJIE SCHEME 85 

coiTimeiiced to land there with the intention of advancing 
^on the Red capital, Trichinopoly. 

Meanwhile Jled, leaving a detachment at Tripatooi% had 
moved the main army to Trichinopoly, and had sent a 
force to the west side of the eastern Ghaiits to threaten 
tlie BUie capital vki the Bangalore -Kolar road* This 
Red force fxdvancing by the Saleni-Seringapatani road 
m west of Kolaigul, operating against a superior Blue 
^B detachment. 

^m The Red detachment at Tripatoor consists of one in fantry 

^Hbiigade, one artillery brigade, one regiment of cavalry, 

^Band one company of sappers and miners* Its orders are 

^Pto protect the north Hank of the Kolaigul detachment 

' and ensni-e the safety of the latter'^ connnuni cations with 

^— the main army at Trichinopoly. The Blue detachment 

^Pfiorth of Tripatoor consists of one and a half infantry 

brigades, one brigade of artillery, one squadron of cavalry, 

^H and two companies of mounted infantry ; its orders are to 

^J^lvancc .south and threaten the rear of the Kolaignl 

detachment J and fissist the Blue detachment from 

Seringa patam in driving it east of the Ghauts. 

This of course i.s only the Imre skeleton of the scheme, 
which require^s elaWration and arrangement. It the 
^» country ^outh of Tripatoor is not suitable for a Statf Ride, 
^Pthe scheme nuist be altei*ed so that the operations may 
take place over a moi'e suitable area, but the general idea 
can remain much the same, Ijocml know^Iedge of the 
ground is necessary before the locality for the operations 
can be deHnitely fixeiL 

If the ground between Bangaloi'e and Seringapatani is 
found to be more suitable, the same general idea could be 
use<l, anfl the operations of the detachments under Banks 
and fJacksun could form the scheme for the Staff Ride. It 
IK intiiresting to note that there is a marked similarity 
^■between the direction of the railway^s in this part of India 



86 SlAFK RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

and in Vii^inia, also between the eastern Ghauts in India 
and the Blue Ridge Mountains in America. 

P. — A detachment made either with the object of 
effecting a landing at one point on an enemy's coast-line, 
and thus diverting his attention from the point where the 
main landing is intended to take place, to secure a base for 
the landing of the main army, or to make a raid against 
some vital point. 

Probably the best example of this form of detachment 
is afforded by Lord Wolseley's invasion of Egypt in 1882. 
He engaged Arabi's attention by landing at Alexandria 
a force which had orders to demonstrate against the 
Egyptian army to the south. On the arrival of the trans- 
ports containing the main expedition Lord Wolseley sailed 
to Aboukir Bay and bombarded the forts there, as though 
he was about to land. Finally he passed rapidly through 
the Suez Canal to Ismailia, thus securing a suitable base 
and protecting the Suez Canal. 

This type of detachment has frequently been selected 
to form a scheme for a Staff Ride in England, probably 
because it overcomes the difficulty of landing a sufficiently 
small hostile force. It is, however, open to some objection 
from the point of view of modern war. In countries where 
railways are few or non-existent, like Korea, the Liaou 
Tung Peninsula, Egypt, Turkey, China, &c., if the defender 
has no troops on the spot, he must either neglect the 
hostile landing altogether, or move slowly to meet it. 
When the invader discovers that the defenders have 
actually moved in the required direction, the main landing 
can take place, and the detachment having done its work, 
possibly without firing a shot, will still have time to 
disembark before the defender"*s troops arrive. 

In a country where many railways exist, and where the 
defender can move troops rapidly to oppose a landing at 
any point, it is doubtful whether a small detachment can 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 87 

compass anything more than its own destruction, especially 
if opposed by energetic troops armed with modern weapons. 

It is sometimes urged that the detachment can re- 
embark, just as Sir John Moore's army did at Corunna in 
January 1809, or as part of the British detachment did at 
Alexandria in 1882 ; but in the first case the embarkation 
was covered by the Spaniards who held the defences of 
Corunna, and in the second case by the garrison left at 
Alexandria. If, under modern conditions of war, the 
invading detachment is attacked, and desires to re-embark, 
it is unlikely to be able to do so without losing a great 
part of its force. It may also be observed that when the 
landing takes place in a thickly populated country with 
extensive telegraphic communication, the strength of the 
force actually disembarked will be ascertained rapidly by 
the defender, he is unlikely to be deceived thereby, and 
any troops sent to repel the invading detachment, having 
performed their task, can rejoin the main army before 
their absence will be felt. 

Another type of detachment of a somewhat similar 
nature is the much-discussed raid, which has frequently 
provided a scheme for a Staff Ride in England. In this 
case a foreign Power is supposed to have landed a force of 
5000 to 10,000 men with the object of capturing London. 
This possibility has been discussed so frequently in the 
public press, and has led to such antagonistic conclusions, 
that the subject cannot be investigated here with sufficient 
brevity, and it is best to say that those authorities who 
believe such an operation is possible are justified in prac- 
tising it, and those who do not believe in it can with 
advantage choose another form of detachment. 

A more likely detachment than a raid on London is one 
made with the object of securing and fortifying a base for 
the landing of the main army. If one nation proposes to 
fight another on land, and the two are separated by the 



88 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

sea, as was the case in 1904 with Russia and Japan, it is 
sometimes necessary for the invader to send forward a 
detachment to secure a landing-place before the main army 
is embarked. This is what the Japanese did at Chemulpo. 

There are occasions, however, when the whole army is 
sent across the sea with the intention of landing at some 
undefended spot, and if that is found impracticable, to 
select another one. This is what occurred in 1854, when 
the Allied Army embarked at Varna and sailed for the 
Crimea ; and in 1904, when the Second Japanese Army 
under General Oku landed at Pitszewo. 

The landing and subsequent operations of an advanced 
guard sent forward to secure a base, forms an instruc- 
tive exercise for officers of the Army and Navy working 
together. When preparing the scheme, a suitable landing 
place should be reconnoitred beforehand by the director, 
and the commercial port which is to act as the base should 
be decided upon. The immediate capture of this port will 
depend upon whether it is fortified or not, and the scheme 
should include some information on the subject. 

For example, if it is desired to hold a Staff* Ride near 
Cape Town, the scheme based ori this idea might take 
the following form see Sketch No. 17). 

England, Blue, is at war with Cape Colony, Red. 

Blue, having gained command of the sea, decides to land 
two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade about 
Hawston, in False Bay, and seize Cape Town, which is 
believed to be weakly defended, and which is required by 
Blue as a base for further operations inland. 

The Red capital is Middelburg, and the main Red army 
is believed to be concentrated near the capital ready 
to move towards any threatened point. Port Elizabeth, 
Port Alfred, and East London are each supposed to be 
defended by a few guns on the sea front, but there are no 
permanent defences at Cape Town. 

The Red garrison at Cape Town consists of one infantry 



w 



»: 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 8.9 

division and one regiment of travalry. Sufficient ml ling 
:stock has been collected at Cape Town to tranj^port this 
force to Middelbiirg or any other required point on the 
railway. 

On the Blue side a party of naval and military officers 
would make all the necessary arrangements for transporting 
their troops from England to Ilawston, and for landing on 
arrivaL The operations inland would include an advance 
on Cape Town, opposed by another party of officei^i repre- 
senting the Red foi-ee. The lied officers could .stay at 
Cape Town, and the Blue officers at Caledon, if accommo- 
dation IS available, 

Q»— A detachment puished forward in front of an army 
f.to secure an important strategical point, such as a inoun- 
.tain pass^ or to defend a supply depot, 

Sucli a detachment cannot be made with safety in any 
ordinary theatre of war. In fact, it shoidd only be em- 
ployed in a country where there are no railways^ few roads, 
and wliere the enemy is unlikely to be able to concentrate 
a superior force against it, or where it is quite impossible 
for the army to advance until supply de]>5ts have Ix'en 
estHblishetl in front of it. Tlu's would he the case in 
some parts of the boitlers of India, in China, or in I^wer 
Egypt, 

In 1882 Lord Wolseley was compelled to mm\ forward 
a detnchnient to Kassassinj not only to hold the Canal lt>t*k 
at that place and [>revent the Egyptians from cutting oft* 
the fresh water-sujiply, but also to establish a magazine. 
This detachment w^as twice attacked by the Egyptians, 
who were each time repulsed. It had to hold its position 
for a long time, and it was necessary to employ vt-ry few 
troops, otherwise the supplies would have been consumed 

ias fast as they were sent out^antl the main army t^ould not 
lid van ce until sufficient foml had iKMjin collected there to 
enable it to ad\'ance on Cairo, 



1 



90 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

forward a detachment to hold an important pass or to 
forestall the enemy at such a place. 

In 1898, when Lord Kitchener was advancing on 
Khartoum, it was necessary to establish magazines in 
advance of the main army, and not bring up the whole 
force till everything was ready for a decisive blow. 

On all these occasions the reasons for making these 
detachments, and their safety, is to be found in the absence 
of any rapid means of transporting either troops or sup- 
plies, each belligerent being affected in an equal degree. 
If a detachment is sent forward in front of an army in an 
ordinary theatre of war, it is almost certain to be over- 
whelmed. Thus, the formation of a great supply depot 
at De Aar in 1899 was no doubt highly desirable from a 
military point of view, but it was a dangerous undertaking, 
and against a more enterprising enemy than were the 
Boers at that period of the campaign would have offered 
a far more tempting bait than Kimberley or Mafeking. 

If it is desired to base a scheme for a Staff Ride on this 
idea the above points should be considered, and a detach- 
ment should not be sent forward in front of an army unless 
the conditions here mentioned are present. The scheme 
might be drawn up on the following lines. 

Disturbances have occurred in a native state which is 
subject to British control. In order to send an expedition 
to quell the rising, it is necessary to traverse an inhospitable 
region extending for sixty miles, with no supplies except 
grazing, few inhabitants, and bad roads. The size of the 
expeditionary force has been reduced to the lowest possible 
degree, but it has been found that no advance can be 
made until a magazine has been established, protected by 
a small detachment, on the borders of the state. With 
this object in view, a detachment, consisting of one infantry 
brigade, one artillery brigade, one regiment of cavalry, 
and one company of engineers, is despatched with the first 
convoy of waggons to establish posts along the line of 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 91 

communication and defend the supply dep6t which is to be 
established at the end of it. It is calculated that it will 
take three weeks to forward sufficient supplies for the 
whole force to operate with freedom against the enemy. 
Grazing is to be found in most places, but grain for the 
horses must be carried. 

The officers taking part in the Staff Ride could work 
out all the necessary details of supply and defence for the 
whole line, including the amount of transport required, 
the method of passing supplies up the line, the number of 
posts on the line, &c. Information must of course be 
given as to the size and composition of the whole force, 
the position of the nearest railway station, the nature of 
the enemy'^s country and his method of fighting, &c. 

It is undesirable, under these circumstances, for a party 
of officers to represent the enemy as they gain no valuable 
instruction ; so the operations of the native forces must be 
decided from day to day by the director of the Staff Ride. 
After the officers have decided upon the locality and 
defence of the magazine, the director can give them a 
situation involving an attack by the enemy, and they can 
draw up a plan for repelling it. This class of exercise is 
particularly suitable for practising staff officers in the 
solution of important administrative questions. 

R. — A detachment which has been employed on one of 
the duties enumerated in the above seventeen different 
types, and which is required to rejoin the main army. 

An instructive scheme, involving considerable freedom 
of action on the part of the commander, can be based on 
this idea. Military history affords us examples of detach- 
ments that have failed, even when unopposed, and of 
others that have succeeded in reaching the main body in 
time to take part in the decisive battle. Success on these 
occasions has resulted more from the determination and 
energy displayed by the commander than from the fight- 
ing qualities of the troops. 



92 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

After the battle of Ligny in 1815, Napoleon ordered 
Grouchy to follow up the retreating Prussians, and keep 
them employed whilst he himself attacked the English army 
under Wellington. Grouchy, however, not only failed to 
prevent Blucher joining the English army, but was himself 
absent from the field of Waterloo. Blucher, on the other 
hand, in spite of being engaged with Grouchy at Wavre, 
came up on Napoleon'^s right flank at the critical moment 
of the battle, and ensured the defeat of the French. 

In 1861 Johnstone was operating in the Shenandoah 
valley against a superior force of Federals under Patterson, 
but he succeeded in deceiving Patterson as to his real in- 
tentions, and joined Beauregard at the battle of Bull Run 
in time to prevent almost certain defeat. 

It is not difficult to prepare a scheme based on this idea. 
It is only necessary to place the two main armies in a 
convenient position, to assume that Red is about to take 
the offensive, and requires every man on the battle-field, 
and then to recall a detachment which has been carrying 
out one of the duties enumerated in this chapter. For 
example, if the Staff Ride is to be held in Ireland in the 
neighbourhood of Clonmel {see Sketch No. 15), the 
Munster army (Red), based on their capital, Tralee, 
having invaded Leinster (Blue), on the line Charleville- 
Tipperary-Thurles, towards the Blue capital, Mary- 
borough, was defeated near Burrow, and compelled to 
fall back on Kilmallock, destroying all railway bridges 
between Bally brophy Junction and Thurles. 

The Red commander when retiring through Thurles 
detached one division and a cavalry brigade to Caher with 
the following objects : 

(a) To deceive the enemy as to his main line of 
retreat. 

(b) To induce the enemy to detach a larger force, not 
only to guard his southern flank, but to prevent any 
Red advance via Kilkenny on the capital, Maryborough. 



* 

Map] 



■ THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME ^ 

f (e) To suddenly call in the Caher detaisliiiient and 
J IS f^ 11 IT I e the aft en si ve against the weakenetl Blue army. 

The Blue army follow ed Red as far as Tippernry, and the 

[ypposing cavalry are in contact on the line Hospital-Bally- 

mders, the pass over the Gal tee mouu tains to Mitchels- 

""town being held by a Red detachment. This position has 

bt^en occLi[>ied without any inipoi'tant change for ten days. 

lean while the Red detachnieiit at Caher attacked and 

^defeated a Blue detachment near Newinn, Blue was then 

reinforced, and Mlvauced against Caher in greatly snperior 

numbers. Red held its position near Caher for two days, 

Lbut the Blue cavalry having -succeetled in occupying 
Cloghcen, a retreat became necessary. The officer com* 
manding the Red detachment was then ordered to march 

Pto Bally landers to joiji the main anny, which was advanc- 
ing to attack Blue Jiear Tipperary. 

The officers on the Red side would conduct the operations 

of the Red detacliment from Caher to Ballylanders, and 

those on the Blue side the operations of a superior Blue 

detachment. The dates and exac^t distribution of the 

troops at the commencement of the Staff Ride must be 

carefully worked out. The ofticei-s on the Red side could 

^||tay at Fermoy or Mitchelstowii, and those on the Blue 

^Hide at Clonmel. This scheme is worked out in detail in 

^K^hapier V. as an example of how the general and special 

^Bdea'^ can be pre|iared. 

^^ All the above examples have been taken from w^ell-known 
campaigns, the history of which e^ ery staft* officer is fully 
^■^^quainted with* As already stated^ this is not an ex- 
^^lauNtive statement of the reasons why detachments have 
been matle in war, bid it is sufficient to indicate the general 
lines on whicli schemes for these exercises can be framed. 
Officers can then pre|>are similar schemes Iwised on somewhat 
different iileas which they have obtained from their study 

If other cam(>aigns and froui their own ex[>crienee of wan 
It will generally be found that campaigns sncli us the 



CHAPTER V 

THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 

{contifiued.) 

The Elaboration of the General and Special Ideas. — 
Perhaps the best method of describing the various steps 
that it is necessary to take when drawing up the general and 
special ideas for a Staff Ride is to formulate a definite scheme 
and study the various requirements which would apply, with 
slight modification, to other localities andother schemes. 

We will assume, therefore, that the Staff Ride is to be 
held with the object of instructing commanders and staff 
officers in the south of Ireland, that it is intended to 
practise the operations of a detachment which is required 
to rejoin the main army in time for battle {vide R.^ 
Chapter IV.), and that the original object in sending out 
the detachment was to threaten some vital point, and 
induce the enemy to make a larger detachment and thus 
weaken his main army (vide A, Chapter IV.). 

It may be of assistance to draw on transparent paper 
the situation it is desired to arrive at when the Staff Ride 
commences. This sketch should be drawn on the same 
scale as the map in use, so that it can be moved about and 
made to fit in with the physical features of the country. 

Sketch No. 18 will illustrate the requirements of the 
case, assuming that the scale of the map in use is sixteen 
miles to an inch. 

The Blue army must have invaded the Red country, in 
order to create a vulnerable line of communications. If 




THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME t^? 

pcte'tiiblej this line should run back towards tlie flank, whera 
^Mi is most suitable for Red to detach troops. The main 
^■^arniies require a fairly open space for their operations, and 

Uie detachments, especially the Hed detach nientj require 

country with obstacles to assist them, 
^m If we turn now to Sketch No* 15, we find that the two 
^parallel ridges running east and west through Munster 
^Mivide the country into three sections, that on the north 
^feeing most suitable for tlie operations of the main army, 
^fl'he Galty and Ballyhoura mountains will provide the 

necessary obstacle, though they ai*e on the opposite flank 

Pto the obstacle shown on Sketch No, 18, If^ however, the 
transparent paper is turned upside down the desired situa- 
tion would be changed to suit the gi-ound, 
^m The frontier between Red and Blue would be con- 
^■veniently placed if it coiTesponds with that dividing the 
^mrovinces of Munster and Leinster» This line runs from 
^BWatcrford to Roscrca. It is necessary, first of all , to ascer- 
attain the best position for the main armies, and then descrribe 
how they got there. 

If it is intended to use the Galty and Ballyhoura 
mountains as the obstacle, the Red army must \ye some- 
where about Kitmallock, so that the Red detachment can 
I operate with some safety towards Caher against the Blue 
line of conmiunications, and so that the Red detachment, 
by drawing the Blue detachment towai'ds Mitchelstown, 
fvjl! be able to hold the passes over the mountains to the 
borth, aTid rejoin its main army in time for battle more 
rapidly than the Blue detachment* It appeai^s desirable 
|thejefore to place the Blue main army to the east of 
kilmallock, prolmbly about Tipperary* 
The next step is to describe the events that have 
ccurred tip to the date of the commencement of the Staft' 
lide, decide upon the capitals of Munster and Leinster^ 
ind fix the line of communication of the Blue army. To 




98 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

get the main armies into the required position, Red can 
invade the Blue country and then be driven back, or Blue 
can invade the Red country, defeat the Red army, and 
drive it back towards Eilmallock. It is immaterial which 
course is adopted, provided that a battle is fought before 
the commencement of the Staff Ride, because this, 
together with the lengthening of Blue's line of communi- 
cation, gives a sufficient reason for the pause in the main 
operations. 

It would be best, perhaps, to assume that Red first 
invaded the Blue country, was defeated and driven back, 
and that the railways were destroyed as the Red army 
retired. This would increase Blue's difficulty in pushing 
the pursuit. It should be remembered that events do not 
move so rapidly in real war as they do on a Staff Ride, 
and the umpires should check the extraordinary rapidity 
noticeable during a peace exercise. Red must make the 
detachment to Caher when retiring through Cashel, and 
Blue cannot pass Cashel without sending a detachment to 
guard its southern flank. The Mitchelstown pass over the 
Galty mountains must also be occupied by a Red detach- 
ment, to keep open communication between the main Red 
army and the Caher detachment (vide O, Chapter IV.). 

As the physical features of the country render it 
desirable for the detached operations to take place on the 
south flank of the main armies, it is preferable to select 
some southerly town in Leinster as the Blue capital. 
Waterford is perhaps too far south, because if this was 
the capital the operations of the main armies would have 
been farther south. Kilkenny is rather too close to the 
frontier, so perhaps Carlow would be the best place to 
select. Killarney would be a good locality for the Red 
capital, as it would increase the doubt in Blue's mind as 
to whether the Red commander intended to retire north 
or south of the Galty mountains. The two capitals are 



THE PREPARATION OF TFIE SCHEME 



99 



onlj 1^ miles apai'tj and it may be necessary to change 

Itheir position when we begin to work out the scheme. As 

the Red army is o|TeratiTig in its own country, with the 

ailways behind it intact, its hue of connniniication with 

the eaj)ital i« not of vital importance. Both Carlow and 

[iilarney being open to possible raitis fi'oni the sea, it would 

advisable to neutralii^ethc seapoweu of each belligerent 

by assuming that their naval forces are insnfticient to affect 

I coui^se of the operations on land. 
^Having thus fitted the framework of the scheme hi to a 
definite ai'ea of ground, the genei'al and special ideas can 
be preparedj or, in other words^ the officers taking part in 
the Staff Hide most be supplied svith at least some of the 
items of information they would possess in real war, and 

I which ai-e detailed in the last jmrt of Chapter HL 
I Sufficient attention is not alw^ays paid to the class of 
ijifonnation which is included in the general idea. It 
Rhould be remembered that it in read by both sides, and 
Ihat the officers ou one sifle will know that the enemy is 
in possession of the information which is inserted in this 
document cojicerning their own forces and movements. 
For exam pie, it might be stated in the general idea that 
when retiring through Cashel the Red commander de- 
tach etl a force to Caber » This appears innocent enough 
at Hi*st sight, but it at once gives the Blue commander 
very important information : it tells him that it was a 
Red detachment and not the main Hed army, and all 
doubt as to which is Hed^si main line of operations will be 
an end. The Hed commander will know that Blue is 
ttware of his detachment to Caber, and the problem for the 
B lue commander will Ix* greatly simplified, 
^^b It is sometimes desirable to give one side — say Blue— 
^^pine informaticai about Hed which Red does not know 
HKii'^t Blue pos!se?>ses, or is unawaie if Bine possesses or not. 
Such infornmtion should be put into the special idea for 




100 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Blue only. For example, if, after reaching Cashel, Blue 
discovers that Red has retired, this might go into the 
general idea ; but if it is desired to let Blue know that 
Red^s main army has retired on Kilmallock, the fact 
should be inserted in the special idea for Blue only, other- 
wise, if this information is included in the general idea, 
the Red commander would know that Blue was aware of 
the position of the main Red army, and Red would not 
know this in real war. 

The main object of the general idea is to give the officers 
a bird's-eye view of the whole situation, but only so far as 
it would appear to officers of both armies. All accurate 
details as regards strength, intentions of commanders, &c., 
should be inserted in the special idea for each side. 

Any assumed change in the physical features of the 
country, the railways, roads, &c., or the introduction of 
imaginary fortresses, should be stated in the general idea, 
because it may be presumed that each side has some know- 
ledge of the theatre of operations. For example, if the 
Red side is limited in the special idea to the use of one 
railway, and it is stated that no others are supposed to 
exist, the fact should be indicated in the general idea, 
because the Blue commander would be aware of it in real 
war, and the Red commander would know that Jie was 
aware of it, and the strategical plans of each commander 
would be affected thereby. Similarly, any demolitions 
which have been carried out by one side in localities which 
have been reached by the other should be mentioned in 
the general idea, because each would know that the other 
was aware of the fact. Any fortresses which are supposed 
to exist should also be described in the general idea, 
together with the general line of their permanent defences. 
This would be known in real war, and a fairly accurate 
estimate could be made of the strength of the garrison if 
the extent of the perimeter is known. 



■ THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 101 

^B When first drafting the scheme for a Staff Ride^ it will 
^nave some trouble and reduce the probability of mistakes 
^mf a fictitious date is adoptetl in the fii'st instant e. When 
^nthe scheme has been worked out to the stage where the 
^Ktaff Hide commences the whole of the dates can be 
^nltered. If this is not done it is invaiHably necessary to 
^nlter the back dates several times, so as to work up to 
^■the exact date of the Staf!" Ride ; whereas, if the scheme 
^Hs drafted with fictitious dates j and it is found that insuffi- 
^Kient or too much time has been allowed for a particular 
^pperatian, the one date can be altered on the spot without 
^fclianging those that have gone Ijeforo, 
H Finally, before preimring the general and special idea, 
Hthe ground should be visited to ascertain if it is suitable 
^Bor the purpose. In the particular case under considera- 
^Blion it would be necessary to ascertain whether the 
^Kountry between Cashel and Mitchelstown, and thence to 
^BBally landers^ is suitable for the operations of the Red 
^Wetachment, and what proportion of cavalry and artillery 
^Mould be usefully employed. Also whether the mountains 
^Hietween Ctaher and the Michel stown-Baliy landers road, 
^Rind thence westwards to the Bally organ road, are im- 
passable for guns ; if not, they should be assumed to \m 
■impassable, except at Ballylanders, for the purposes of 
^Klie scheme^ and the fact stated in the general idea. 
^B The chief difficulty yet to be overcome is to reduce the 
^n^e of the main armies to accord with the somewhat 
^Bimited area available for their operations between the 
Oalty moiui tains and the Shannon. Four divisions and 
three cavalrj^ brigades on the Re<i side, antt ^ ve divisions 
with three or four cavaliy brigades on the Blue side, 
rould be quite as large a foiTe as could operate in such a 
^larrow' strip less than tiO miles wide. 

Then again, no country of the size of Leinster or 
lurister would possess an army of this size, and we im- 



102 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

mediately become involved in the imrealities which are 
characteristic of these imaginary schemes. Even if we deal 
only with the fi'ontier line, which is really all we require 
for the purposes of our scheme, we must then imagine that 
Leinster and Munster are much larger than they really 
are, and even then it is difficult to imagine one State with 
only four divisions going to war with another State which 
has only five. 

The favourite solution is to get rid of the main armies 
altogether, and turn the whole of the operations in the 
immediate theatre of war into a sort of side show>, like 
Falkenstein''s operations on the river Main against the 
Austrian Allies in 1866, whilst the main Prussian army 
was fighting the Austrian army in Bohemia. But neither 
Ireland nor England is big enough for such extensive 
schemes ; furthermore, it would be necessary to go into a 
long explanation showing why the main armies were 
operating elsewhere, and why these two smaller armies 
were left to protect such vital points as the capitals of 
the two countries. It is this difficulty which has brought 
about the undesirable introduction of the impossible land- 
ing of small forces intended for the invasion of a hostile 
country, whilst the latter's unpreparedness for war has 
compelled her to send an equally small force to repel the 
invasion. As this same difficulty will occur with any 
scheme, based on an imaginary situation, which has to be 
worked out in England or Ireland, the following methods 
of dealing with it may be worth mention. 

An endeavour can be made to localise the operations, 
without entering upon any extensive details, by assuming 
that the boundary between I^einster and Munster is part 
of a frontier line between two powerful and extensive 
countries that are at war with each other. Owing to 
physical obstacles, the Munster army is unable to invade 
on one line, and has detached four divisions to advance 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 103 

eastwards, north of the Galty mountains, whilst the main 
army invades from the north through Ulster. The 
Leinster army, aware that the main line of invasion must 
come from the north, has concentrated on that side, 
leaving a detachment to deal with any advance from the 
west, just as Von Moltke did in 1866. In this case the 
line of communications of the Munster army could run 
westwards through Killarney, or Tralee, to the capital, 
which would be some imaginary place in mid ocean, and 
the " side show ^ could continue on its original lines. 

Another method would be to assume the same frontier 
line, and suppose that a war was going on between Leinster 
and some imaginary northern State, and that Munster, 
who had originally been neutral, had been induced to 
throw in her lot with the northern power and act against 
the Leinster line of communications, just as Prussia was 
persuaded to join Austria and Russia and act against 
Napoleon's line of communications in 1805. In this 
instance, however, though the Prussian army was mobilised 
and ready to move, Napoleon'^s victory at Austerlitz induced 
Prussia to change her mind. 

Another method would be to assume that Leinster. was 
engaged in a war beyond the seas, and that her available 
resources at home were reduced to a few divisions, and that 
Munster, by joining the enemy, was strong enough to 
create a diversion in favour of her ally. This situation 
has hardly occurred since the declining days of the Roman 
Empire, because when a nation has been engaged on a 
distant enterprise, like ourselves in South Africa, or the 
Russians in Manchuria, she has retained at home, in the 
one case a powerful fleet, or in the other a powerful army, 
to keep watch over the safety of the house. It is, however, 
conceivable that such a situation might arise, especially in 
the case of an insular or semi-insular country so absorbed 
in colonisation and commerce that it had no inclination to 



104 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

pay its insurance policies in the shape of fleets and standing 

armies. 

Another method would be to create such a situation as 
arose in Spain at any time during the Peninsular War, in 
Turkey and Armenia in 1877, or in France at the end of 
1870, when the various forces of each belligerent were widely 
scattered and engaged on several independent campaigns. 

The only disadvantage of this method is that it becomes 
necessary to write a long description of how the various 
parts of the army got into this situation, and when the 
Staff Ride is held in England or Ireland, there is not 
enough room for such extended operations without turning 
the sea into dry land. 

Sufficient has been said to explain the difficulty and to 
suggest somewhat indifferent means of overcoming it, and 
we can now endeavour to write out the general idea, which 
might take the following form, with the pai^agraphs num* 
bered to facilitate reference when studying the work done 
by the officers (see Sketch No. 15). 

General Idea. 

1. The boundary bet ween Munster and Leinster is assumed 
to be part of a frontier between two powerful and extensive 
States, Red to the north and west, and Blue to the east. 
The Blue capital is Carlow. The Red army is slightly 
superior in numbers to that of Blue, and both are organised 
in the same manner as the British army at war strength. 
Red has had more recent experience of war than Blue. 

2. Owing to physical obstacles, the Red army has been 
compelled to invade on two lines, one from the north 
through Ulster, and one from the west through Munster. 
It soon became apparent that the main line of invasion 
was from the north, and that the main Blue army was also 
operating in that direction. 

3. On June 4, 1907, the southern Red army, drawing 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 105 

supplies through Killariiey or Tralea, advanced from the 
line KUlcnaule-Thurle^j and on 5th and 6th attat*ked a Blue 
force which was holding a strong entrenched position, 
facing west, on the left bank of the Munster river about 
Jrlingford- 

4, On June 7 a heavy counter attack was delivered 
by Blue againwt the Red nortlieni flank, and the Red army 
vas compelled to fall back on Thurles, The Blue force, 

advancing in superior nnnibei-s, forced Red to retii^ on 
CasheL During this retirement Red destroyed all railways 
eading across the frontier. 

5. Red then totik up a strong position with his southern 
Bank resting on the right bank of the Suirj south-west of 
Grolden, and the northern flank about Ballagh- Red 

ivalrv protected both flanks, and also guarded all ap* 
proache^ towards C'aher from the north* This position 
was unsuccessfully attacked by Blue on June 14. 

iS^ote, — The Galty mountains ai"e impasmble west of 
[]^aher, except by the roads leading Houth from the neigh- 

jurhood of Bally landers and Kilfinnane, 

Notes on the General Idt'u, — Paragraph 1, The boundary 
^tween UUter and Munster is assumed to be part of a 
iron tier between tu'o powerful and extensive States, Red 
Ay the north and wei>t, Blue to the east. 

This assumption regarding the frontier is sufficiently 
explicit, because the only part of it which aftei^ts the Stall' 
tide is that between Munster and LeinsLer. It is necessary 
hjtroduce two powerful and extensive States if it 18 
lesii^d to pmctise Enro|jeaii warfare. The exact size of 
khe States is immaterial ; we know Red is north and west 
of BKie, and that the Blue country lies to the east. That 
^ quite sufficient for our purpose* 

I The remainder of the pat^raph deals with the supe- 
riority of Red, which provides a sufficient reason for Red to 



106 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

invade. The item regarding experience of war is intro- 
duced to improve the rnoral of Red. 

Paragraph 2 is open to criticism. When an army 
invades on two or more lines, the commander endeavours 
to concentrate his forces before battle, just as Von Moltke 
hoped to do in Bohemia in 1866, and with the First and 
Second German Armies in France in 1870. In this scheme, 
however, no mention is made of any point of concentration ; 
the southern Red army, by its advance towards the Blue 
capital, is nevertheless threatening a Blue vital point, and 
Blue has been compelled to detach a sufficient force to 
guard the safety of this point. On the Blue side the 
situation is similar to Von Moltke's detachment under 
Falkenstein in 1866, which was senti to deal with the 
troops of the German States that had sided with Austria, 
and who might advance on Berlin if it was left unprotected. 
There was no question of concentrating these forces in the 
main theatre of war in Bohemia, and they were practically 
carrying out an independent campaign in Germany on the 
river Main, just as the Red and Blue southern forces in 
this scheme are fighting in Munster while the main opera- 
tions are being decided away to the north in Ulster. 

The remainder of the general idea simply gives a brief 
sketch of the operations up to the date of the commence- 
ment of the Staff Ride. The object of making Red 
advance first was to prevent Blue from seizing any rail- 
ways in Munster, and thus facilitating his line of supply. 
It was necessary for Red to retire in order to get the Red 
army near Kilmallock, with the Galty and Ballyhoura 
mountains on his southern flank. In this manner the 
Blue communications will not only be sufficiently long for 
our purpose, but they will be sufficiently insecure to 
warrant the detachments we propose to employ. 

The second battle, fought on the Suir, increases the 
probability of a pause in the main operations, which in 



I 

I 
I 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME lf>7 

real war is generally the moment when cletachmentB are 
fii-st made. 

It will be obsei'\'ed that no meiitioii is made in the 
general idea of the two detachments A and B refeired to 
on Sketch 18, The reason for this is to be foond in the 
imture of the situation protlueed by the scheme. It would 
be difficult to find any item of information regarding thase 
detachments that each side would know, and that each 
side would also know that the other was aware of* This 
being the case, such information is barred from insertion 
in the general idea, and must be reserved for the special 
ideas. For exanijile, it would be a mistake to say that 
two days later Blue discovered that the lied army had 
retii-ed westwards, and that a strong forces facing northt 
w^as holding a position near Calier. If thi.s was done, each 
commander would know exactly what information the 
other possessed about his own movementsj and therc?*would 
be no longer any doubt as to the direction of the Retl line 
of retreat 

To enable the Red detached commander to reconnoitre 
the ground, it will be noces^sary to commence the Staff 
Ride the day before the main array retires ; otherwise, as 
will be seen later, it will be impossible to give him a free 
hand in the selection of the positioTi he would take up 
iiearCaher* ITie advance of the Blue army to Tipperary 
and the detachment of a Blue force towards Caher must 
be given in the special idea. As matters stand, the 
orticei-s commanding the Red and BUie main forcx^s would 
each be unaware of the line of operations selected by the 
other, and the connnanders of the Red and Blue detach- 
ments near Caher will each be uncertain whether he has 
igot the enemy's main army in front of him or only a 
detachment. The defensive attitude on both sides which 
may result from this situation will lie quite as instructive 
as any other solution ; and, if desired, it can be remedied 




110 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

officers should then be asked to study the situation, formu- 
late a definite plan of action, state whether they consider 
any further information should be given, notify any mis- 
takes, and suggest any improvements which would make 
the exercise more instructive. Two officers who ai'e to be 
employed on the directing staff* should be selected for 
this work, because, having studied the situation themselves, 
and having been called upon to propose a definite plan of 
action, they will be in a better position to discuss and 
criticise the work done by the officers during the Staff 
Ride. 

In paragraph 5 of the general idea, the information 
regarding the operations leading up to the despatch of a 
Blue force to Caher is necessarily vague, and a more 
detailed statement must be inserted in the special idea 
for Red. So far no reason has been assigned for the 
retirement of Red from its position on the Suir. This 
retirement is necessary for the purposes of the scheme, in 
order to utilise the obstacle formed by the Galty 
mountains, and the same reason would be sufficient in 
real war. The Red commander, though he had repulsed 
the attack on his position behind the Suir, might be 
unable to assume the offensive himself with any hope of 
success. To remain in his present position would mean a 
subsequent attack by Blue with all his forces concentrated 
and with no danger threatening his line of retreat. A 
more favourable position for Red to stand and fight 
would be farther west, where Blue would be uncertain as 
to the position of the Red army, would be anxious about 
his line of communications, and would probably have 
weakened his main force by detachments. This appears 
to be a satisfactory explanation. 

It is now necessai'y to consider the size of the Red 
detachment and what instructions it should receive. We 
have seen already that the ground is probably suitable for 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME III 

detiu'hment of any size, varying fmm one infantry 
brigade to a division, with plenty of cavaby and 
ii'ttllery. As the Red commander intends to fight some- 
where in the neighbourhood of Kilmallock, and as he can 
sily recall the whole or part of this detachment in suffi- 
cient time for battki provided he retains possession of the 
|BallyIaixder& Pass, there i.s no reason why he should not 
[detach a division in the first instance. Such a force 
I would be more likely to deceive the enemy as to the direc 
Ition of the retreat of the Red armyj it would be more 
flikely to draw away a still larger detachment, and if the 
(Blue commander decided to make his main advance down 
^the Blackwater valley, a division would be none too 
small to discover this fact and to delay his advance while 
^^the Red commander decides upon a fresh plan of opera- 
^■tions and moves his troops in the requii*ed dii-ection. 
^1 So it appeai-s in this instance that the size of the force 
^■depends chiefly upon the nature of the Staff Ride. We 
^Bwill a**siime that it is a divisional Staff Ride, and decide 
upon one infantry division as the nucleus of the Red 
^ndetach ment , 

^B In eontinnation of the idea of deceiving Blue as to the 
^KRed line of retirement^ and for other reasons already 
^■mentioned, it appears necessary to employ a considerable 
^H force of cavalry. It is always undesirable to break up a 
cavalry brigade, chiefly because a complete brigade in 
Lone pliw^e, with its commander, staff', and accessories^ is 
lusuaUy a more efficient fighting machine and can produce 
greater effect than a brigade split up into two parts 
und operating in different localities. Difficulties of food, 
iforage, ammunition, artillery supportj &c., immediately 
rop up in real war, though they are not so apparent on a 
staftVRide, 
If we send one i^giment with our detachment it will 
[not be strong enough to materially assist the detai^bment 



112 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

commander, and the efficiency of the rest of the brigade 
left with the main force will be seriously impaired. If we 
take two regiments, one odd regiment belonging to no one 
will not be of much use to the main body. It is sug- 
gested, therefore, that a whole cavalry brigade should 
accompany the Bed detachment, and that two cavalry 
brigades should be left to cover the front and northern 
flank of the main Red army. The immediate front of the 
main force can be watched by the infantry and by the 
divisional squadrons, whilst the two cavalry brigadies 
should stop any hostile cavalry action between Limerick 
and Hospital, a distance of fifteen miles. If, on the other 
hand, the Blue cavalry make any wide detour round the 
south flank by Dungarvan and Fermoy, the Red cavalry 
brigade at Caher will be well placed to deal with it, and 
will be performing the double duty of guarding the extreme 
southern flank of the main army and materially assisting 
the Red detachment in the execution of its task. 

It will be noticed that the troops have been selected 
with due regard to the requirements of the situation, of 
the ground, and of the Staff* Ride, and not in the hap- 
hazard manner which is so undesirable, and which almost 
invariably produces false teaching during the course of the 
exercise. 

The instructions given to the commander of the Red 
detachment will depend to some extent on the size of the 
force employed. If only a brigade, it can do little more 
than draw the enemy towards Mitchelstown, and then be 
ready to march quickly over the pass and join the main 
army for immediate battle. If a division is employed, 
more elaborate instructions are possible. It can assume 
the offensive northwards from Caher if it is not heavily 
attacked itself. If attacked by gi'eatly superior numbers 
it can fall back on Mitchelstown, gaining time for the 
Red commandei: tP Riake fresb dispositions. In fact, there 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME US 

are several courses open to it which it is unnecessary to 
cousider here. 

The iiistruttions to the officer coinniaiiding the detach* 
ment might be of the following nature : 

The Red commander has decided to retire on Kilmal- 
lock with the object of drawing the Blue ai^my within the 
influence of the obstacle formed by the Galty mountains* 
A detachment is sent to Caher to deceive Blue as to Red's 
line of retreat, and prevent Blue from marching into the 
Black water valley vvithout some delay and without ample 
warning being given to Red* It is the task of the oflicer 
commanding this detachment to deceive the enemy as to 
his own strength, to ajssume aii offensive or defensive atti- 
tude as the circumstances of the case require, and in any 
case to prevent the main Blue army from advancing west 
*m Kilmallock without leaving a larger force than the Red 
detaclnnent to guard his reai\ 

Finally, the tactical situation at the moment when the 
Staff Hide conunences nuist be clearly stated, so that the 
Red commander will know where to lay his hands on every 
unit of his force at the connnencement of the exercise. It 
is a mistake to place the troops in battle array, because 
that might not be the method which the Red conmiander 
would adopt ; it is better to commence the Ride with the 
troopa arriving in bivouac that night, with no immediate 
prospect of a battle on the second day, which latter would 
be devoted to a reconnaissance of ground with a view^ to 
the tactical operations which will take place on the third 
and fouiih days. For this reason it is usual for the 
troops to arrive at bivouac beyond reach of the enemy on 
the Monday night, and have a fairly clear march in front 
of them on the Tuesday, so that the day can be devoted 
to reconnaissance work around the new bivouac before the 
troops amve* 

It is a mistake to ask officers to reconnoitre ground for 




114 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the use of troops after the latter are supposed to have 
arrived, because it would be useless in real war, and they 
lose interest in the work. For example, an officer should 
not be asked to reconnoitre during Tuesday an outpost 
position which was supposed to have been held on Monday 
night, or to reconnoitre a road for the advance of a force 
which the troops were using the same day. It is, how- 
ever, quite practicable to ask officers to select during the 
day a bivouac or an outpost position which the imaginary 
troops will occupy towards the evening of the same day, 
because the reconnaissance work can be completed before 
the troops arrive. 

It is not always easy to arrange this matter, as appears 
in the particular case before us. The best method would 
be to suppose that the Red detached force was collected at 
Caher on the evening of the first day of the Staff Ride, 
that the ground to the north of Caher was held by the 
Red cavalry, and that the main Red army would commence 
its retreat from the Suir on the second day of the Staff 
Ride, that is, on June 15. 

But if we adopt this plan a more serious difficulty at 
once arises. If the Staff Ride is to commence on the 
evening of 14th, and the main Red army is not to retire 
until the 15th, the Blue commander would know nothing 
of Red's retreat until the evening of 15th at the earliest, 
and perhaps not until 16th. There would be, therefore, 
no occasion for him to make a detachment towards Caher, 
and there will be nothing for the officers on the Blue side 
to do until 16th. These difficulties arise in the prepara- 
tion of all " imaginary '' schemes, and frequently necessitate 
important changes in the general and special ideas, or the 
abandonment of the whole scheme. 

It is inconvenient for the officers on the Blue side to 
assemble on i6th, two days after those on the Red side, 
so the course of events must be altered to suit the require- 






THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 115 

,nients of the case. The Staff Ride might commence at 
l5 F.M, on the 15th instead of 14?th June, It will then be 
r necessary to postpone the amval of the Red detachment 
jat Caher till the afternoon of 15thj and for the cavalry 
hbrigade to cover this detachment till the afternoon of 16th, 
I by which time the commander of the detachment will have 
I had time to reconnoitre the gi^omid roimd Caher and decide 
I upon his course of action. It is also necessary for the Blue 
I commander to be aware of the Red retreat before 5 p.m. 
ron ISth, in order that he may make up his mind to detach 
M force to Caher, and thus give the officei's on the Blue 
[Side something to do* 

The special idea^ Red, can novr be drafted, assuming that 
Kthe officers of both sides assemble at 6 p.m» on 15th June* 
rthc day after the attack on the Red position has been 
iTepulsed {me Sketch No. 15), 

Special Idea, Red. 
1. The Red southern army consists of four divisions, 
;hree cavalry brigades, with one wireless telegraph company* 
wo air-line telegraph companies^ one balloon company, and 
^cne bridging train ; the Blue army is believed to consist 
of five or six divisions with three or four cavalry brigades. 
S, Though the Blue attack was repulsed, the Red com- 
mander was of opinion that he would have no opportunity 
of attacking the enemy on the left bank of the Suir with 
,ny hope of success, He decided, therefore, to commence 
retirement on Kilmallock on 15th, and draw the Blue 
rmy within the influence of the obstacle formed by the 
alty mountains* 

3* In order to deceive Blue as to the line of retreat 
f the Red army^ and induce him to detach a large force 
protect his flank and rear, and thus weaken his main 
ly, a Red detachment consisting of the 8th infantry 
] vision, one 1ml loon section and the tth cavalry 



116 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

brigade, under the General officer commanding 8th 
division, is moved to Caher during the afternoon of 15th, 
covered by the 7th cavaUy brigade. Tliis brigade has been 
holding the hills north-east and north of Caher, on the line 
Clerahan-Newinn, and thence westwards to the Suir, and 
has not been seriously engaged either on 14th or 15th June. 

4. The officer commanding the detachment is directed 
to do his utmost to exaggerate his numbers in the eyes of 
Blue, and to prevent the main Blue army from advancing 
westwards, without leaving a larger force than the Red 
detachment to guard its rear. He is also directed to 
assume an offensive or defensive attitude as circumstances 
appear to dictate, but in any case he will attack north- 
wards on 17th if he is not himself attacked. He will 
watch the Suir and Black water valleys to the east, and 
finally he will be prepared at all times to rejoin the main 
army as rapidly as possible with the greater part of his 
force, via the Ballylanders Pass. 

6. The main Red army will retire to bivouacs in the 
area Hospital, Ballylanders, Kilmallock, Bruft*, with strong 
outposts east of the Ballylanders-Hospital road. The 
Ballylanders Pass will be held by a detachment consisting 
of two battalions, one battery, and a squadron from the 
main army. The Red commander intends to assume the 
offensive with the main army at the earliest possible 
moment. 

Notes on the Special Idea^ Red. — Paragraph 1. ITie 
Red force, consisting of four divisions, is given a balloon 
oompany and a wireless telegi'aph company, so that details 
regarding these units can be discussed during the Staff 
Ride. The two telegraph companies are in addition to 
those with the divisions, and would be fully employed. 
Only one bridging train is included, as there are no wide 
rivers in the theatre of war. 



I the 

to 

n 



I THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 117 

I Paragraph S. This is a reasonable assumption, because, 

lif the superior Blue force was repulsed in its attack on the 

iRed foiTe behind the Suir, it is probable that any attack 

pWiade by Hed would meet with an even greater reverse. If, 

bowever. Red is able to draw Blue within the influence of 

r the obstacle formed by the Galty mountains, it is possible 

|tbat a better opportunity may occur for Red to concen- 

rate superior forces against BIue> when the latter will 

Tiave a longer and more vulnerable line of communications 

to protect, 

Para^aph 3, This is retained in its original form, 

though it is open to question whether the Staff Ride 

tnight not commence at a later date — for example, after 

the Bine force has attacked and captured Caher^ and has 

™|efta small containing force at or south-west of that place. 

^faf the Blue coninmnderj having captured Caber, decide-s to 

^nulvance through Tipperary against Red, he cannot afToi-d 

to detiicb more than a brigade towards Caher, otherwise 

he will be too weak to attack Red with a fair prospect of 

tucceiis. As we are considering a divisional Staff Ride, we 
^[uire a force stronger than a biHgade on each side, ho it 
B considei*ed best to make no alteration. For a brigade 
BUiff Ride, where smaller forces are required, the scheme 
^wpoidd be varied m suggested above^ the Red detachment 
^B»rtginally left at Caber also being reduced to about the 
^fttrength of a brigade^ with a brigade of artillery and one 
^fc^giment of cavalry attached to it. The date of the cora- 
^nieneement of the exercise would then be changed to 
^B if.M, on 17th, innnefliately after the Blue force had 
^fcttacked and driven the Red detachment out of Caher, 
^P.^he necessary additions must then be made in the special 
ideas, and information regarding the retreat of the Red 
army, together with the Blue attack on Caber, could be 
included in the general idea, because each side would be 
Iwai'e of it* 




118 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Paragraph 3 contains the plan of the Red commander, 
and is somewhat similar to what he would put in his 
orders to the officer commanding the Red detachment. 
The 7th cavalry brigade is placed in the position indicated 
for a double reason. Fii'st, it is necessary for the purpoge 
of the scheme to cover the movement of the Red detach- 
ment to Caher. Secondly, in real war it would be necessary 
for the Red commander, when holding his position behind 
the Suir, to cover his right flank in this manner against fiuiy 
hostile cavalry action via Mitchelstown towards his rear. 

The statement that the 7th cavalry brigade has not 
been seriously engaged either on June 14 or 15 implies 
that both men and horses are fresh, and having been in 
this locality for some time, the men would know the 
ground, and consequently would be able to offer consider- 
able resistance to a Blue advance, and gain time for the 
commander of the Red detachment to reconnoitre and 
prepare a position for occupation by his infantry. The 
reasons for detaching a complete cavalry brigade have 
already been discussed. 

Paragraph 4. This contains the instructions received by 
the Red detached commander. No mention is made of the 
possibility that he may be attacked by greatly superior 
numbers, and it is probable that this would be omitted in 
real war. If he is attacked in this manner, the ground 
appears to be favourable for a small force to give a good 
account of itself against superior numbers, and it is unde- 
sirable to attempt to indicate what a commander should 
do to meet every situation which can arise. If he is told 
to retire directly he is attacked by a superior force, he 
usually discovers, or imagines that he discovers, that the 
enemy is in greatly superior strength at a very early stage 
in the proceedings, and his operations lack initiative, 
determination, and tenacity. Provided it is clearly stated 
why the detachment is made, and what it is expected to do, 



1^ THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 119 

I the method of executing the task should be left to the 
local commander* Every one agi-eea with this principle, 
but it is not always applied in war. 
Paragraph 5 describes the ii movements of the main Hed 
army* It is necessary for the oificer commanding the 
detachment to know this, and further information on the 
subject shonld be conveyed to him in the narratives, as the 
Staff" Ride progresses^ in order that he may know from day 
to day the movements of the main army and the intentions 
of its commander, as he wonJd do in i"eal w-ar, 

I The preparation of the Blue sjiecial idea will be more 
simple than that of Red, because many of the points dealt 
with in the latter involve a consideration of the former- 
Before drafting the special idea for Blue, it is as well, 
^thowx^vcr, to run through the events and ascertain that 
^■everything is suitable for the instruction of the officers on 
^■the Blue side as well as on the Red. 

The Blue commander fails in hiiis attack uu 14t!i, and is 
unlikely to do much on 15th, During the morning of 15th 
lis cavaliy may observe some sign of retreat, and for the 
purpose i>f our exercij^e we must let him know by the 
afternoon of 15th that Red i-^ retiring, that tluj ground 
north of Caher is strongly held, aud that a Red column 
vas iseeii iluring the day moving south-east along the 
ri pperary- Cal i er road . 

ITie Blue commander would naturally prefer to operate 
north of the mountain range running west from the Galty 
hills rather than in the narrow Black water valley to the 
south of it. So far he has obtained no decisive victory 
over Red, who has been able to repulse his latest attack. 

■Certainly he has driven back the invader and gained con* 
Hderable fnoml thereby, but he will be anxious to bring 
him to a decisive battle and thoroughly defeat him before 
he reaches the mountaiimus coimtry east of Tralee* 
Another powerful argument in favour of an advance iiot*th 




120 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

of the Galty ridge is time. If he becomes involved in the 
Blackwater valley, he will not be able to use his whole 
strength, and a comparatively small Red force could 
greatly delay his operations. The supply of food and 
ammunition would then become a serious difficulty. By 
advancing direct on Tipperary and leaving a detachment 
to guard his south flank and rear, he might bring the 
enemy to battle near Kilmallock before the Red troops 
left at Caher could rejoin. 

The alternative course would be to seize and make sure 
of Caher before advancing, and employ a large force for 
the purpose. Having once seized Caher, a small Blue 
detachment would be on more equal terms with any Red 
detachment in that neighbourhood than if Caher was 
allowed to remain in the possession of Red. There is also 
the possibility that the Red army has taken up a flank 
position about Caher, and intends to attack northwards, 
in which case an advance on Tipperary, with Caher still 
in the hands of the enemy, would be a most dangerous 
operation. It appears, therefore, that two distinct courses 
are open to Blue : first, to leave a detachment to guard the 
rear, and march west with the main army ; secondly, to 
employ a large force to attack and seize Caher, and then, 
leaving a detachment south or south-west of Caher, to 
follow the Red troops that retired westwards. Either of 
these courses could be made to fit in with our Staff Ride. 
In the first case the Blue detachment would be attacked 
and driven back by the superior Red division, and must 
then be reinforced, and in the second case the Red division 
would be attacked and driven back. It is fairly certain 
that nine Generals out of ten would attack Caher before 
moving westwards, so it appears best to adopt this course 
for the StaflF Ride. 

It may appear to the ordinary reader that all this 
discussion of the possible action of the two opposing 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME isil 

commanders is unnecessary, but it is the shortest way of 

preparing a st^heme that does not tura out to be full of 

distalces. These '* imaginary schemes "" cannot be written 

S^a few minutes, because the officer who is engaged on 

[the work is in reality working out the details of a whole 

f campaign, with nothing but his knowledge of war and his 

imagination to assist him. If his imagination is allowed 

[to mu riot, both the scheme and the instruction imparted 

to the officers will suffer. 

Before finally drafting the special idea, it is desirable to 

I ascertain if suitable work can be provided for the officers 
on the Blue side. As we are working out a divisional 
Staff Ride where the infantry brigadiers will probably be 
commanding on each side, it is as well to provide each 
'with not less than a division. On the Red side there is 
one division which is intended to fight in cuun try highly 
I suitable for a small force to delay a larger one. It is 
[desirable^ therefore, to allot about one and a half divi- 
Isions for the Blue detachment, with the necessary artilleiy 
land cavahy. 

On June 17 the Red force at Caher might be heavily 
attncked, and driven back towards Mitehelstown, by two 
or three Blue divisions. On IBtli one Blue brigade might 

■be ordered to follow np the retreating lied detachment, 
the main Blue army advancing north of the Galty moun- 
tains towards I'ipperary. The Blue Brigade in the Mit- 
ehelstown valley might be attacked by the Ret! division 
,on 18th, and driven back on Caher. Caher woidd then 
reinforced by Blue, and on 19th the Red detach- 
ment^ leaving a small containing force of about two bat- 
rtalions and one regiment of cavalry, would letire by 
Ballylandei's and join the main Red aimy ready to attack 
Mtbe Blue army on SOth. 
H That would form an instnictive series of operations 






1. 



122 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

being required to study ground both for attack and 
defence, in addition to all other details as regards 
bivouacs, outposts, action of the cavalry, battle-field staff 
duties, disposal of wounded, supply of food, ammuni- 
tion, &c. 

It may be argued that, though the operations described 
above would no doubt be instructive, the officers com- 
manding the Red and Blue detachments may not adopt 
these plans. It is necessary to give these officers a per- 
fectly free hand in formulating their plans of action, other- 
wise they will obtain but little instruction ; and if they 
are given a free hand they may do something which is 
quite different to what the directing staff* anticipate. It 
is possible, however, whilst giving them absolute discre- 
tion as to how they should carry out their task, to tie 
them do>vn, either in the special idea or in the sub- 
sequent narratives of the operations which are issued 
daily, to one definite object. Herein lies the skill which 
is required in the conduct of these exercises, which is dealt 
with in Chapters VIII. and XII. 

In war the detached Blue commander would be told 
that he was to capture Caher and cleai* the MitchelstoMm 
valley, to enable the main Blue army to advance west- 
wards in safety. In the same way we have already seen 
that definite instructions can be given to the Red detached 
commander. In neither case, however, is it suggested that 
these tasks should be carried out in any particular way. 
For example, if both detachments near Caher occupy 
defensive positions, then the narrative issued on the even- 
ing of June 16 can contain instructions from the higher 
commanders requiring more vigorous action on the part of 
their subordinates, in accordance with their original in- 
structions. 

It occurs sometimes that, owing to a hitherto unrecog- 
nised defect in the scheme, a commander on one side 



I 

ft 



' THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 123 

adopts a course of action which would prevent any possi- 
bility of contact between tlie opposing forces during the 
period of the Staff Ride, The directing staff have then 
definitely told him to do something else. He does it 
of course, but uses the time-honoured argument that he 
would not do it in war ; and any criticisms made upon his 
further operations are met by another ancient counter- 
stroke to the effect that if he had been allowed to carry 
out his original plan, he would never have become en- 

k tangled in such a difficult situation. 
The great anchor for the dii'ecting staff* is the deiinite 
task given to the commander. If by his suggested course 
-of action the commander does some tiling which is at 
variance with the recjuii-ements of the case, the directing 

IBtafff by means of the narrative, and cloaked in instruc- 
tions from the superior commander, can inform the 
detaclied eommauder that the methods he suggests are 
not approved, because they are at variance with his 
instructions, and that he must suggest an alternative 
course* 
^m Even thou*^h the operations do not exactly follow the 
ftcourne anticipated by the directing sta fij when preparing 
the scheme, the fact that the scheme has l>een worked out 

•beforehand, and a prob^ible course of events sketched out» 
will obviate many errors in the general and special ideas, 
and at least disclose the fact whether the scheme is likely 

»to produce instructive situations. If not, it should be 
destroyed or nidically altered, and a new one prepared. 
As a rule, it will Ije found best to commence the work 
A faulty scheme, originally intended for one 
of operation, cannot be twisted about to suit another 
without serious probability of the appearance of a still 
greater error. 

It IS now necessary to discover whether suitable work 
BPiin be found for the officers on the Blue side, and whether 

L 



124 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

any further alterations must be made in the scheme. On 
16th 'the officers can be employed in reconnoitring the 
ground north of Caher with a view to attacking the Red 
troops in that neighbourhood on 17th. Bivouacs and 
outposts for the Blue force can be arranged, and to avoid 
overcrowding it will be advisable to state in the special 
idea where the bivouacs of the main Blue army will be 
located on the evening of 16th. 

On 17th there are two courses open to the directing 
staff. The officers can be taken on to the ground and all 
the details of attack worked out in accordance with recom- 
mendations made by the officers who had reconnoitred the 
ground on 16th, the exercise being conducted in the 
manner suggested in Chapter XVIII. ; or the attack can be 
assumed to be successful and a defensive position selected 
south-west of Caher for occupation by the Blue brigade, 
which is to be left in the Mitchelstown valley, in case it 
is compelled to fall back later on. It would be best to 
adopt the first course, because the director could be 
present and conduct the exercise; and on the 18th the 
Blue officers would be arranging for the defence of a 
position near Caher, whilst the Red officers, having 
reconnoitred for attack on 17th, while the battle is being 
fought, could be exercised in delivering this attack on 
18th, the director again conducting the exercise. As will 
be shown later, when aiTanging the work for a Staff Ride 
it is best for the directing staff to take the officers on to 
the ground on the last day, so that there is no work to 
look over when the Staff Ride closes, usually about 3 p.m. 

On 19th therefore the officers on the Blue side could 
again be taken on to the ground, this time by the assist- 
ant director on the Blue side, and all the details of the 
defence of the position selected could be carefiilly studied 
on the ground. 

Working on these lines, the special idea. Blue, can now 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 125 

be drafted, inserting as we go along any small points which 
require attention or which would make the scheme more 
interesting for the officers under instruction {see Sketch 
No. 15). 

Special Idea, Blue. 

1. The Blue southern army consists of five divisions, 
one wireless telegraph company, two air-line telegraph 
companies, two balloon companies, one bridging train, 
one army troops transport and supply column, two field 
ambulances, and three brigades of cavalry. In addition 
to these one infantry brigade, one regiment of cavalry, 
and a battery of field artillery are dispersed at various 
points along the main line of communication, which runs 
through Eillenaule and Kilkenny to Carlow. Supplies are 
also being forwarded from rail-head, which is at present 
at Ballybrophy Junction. Two railway companies are 
repairing the Maryborough-Thurles railway, and it is ex- 
pected that it will be in working order as far as Thurles 
by June 22. Though the Red southern army is believed 
to be inferior in numbers to Blue, Red appears to be 
stronger in cavalry than was expected. 

2. The Blue army suffered heavy casualties during the 
attack on the 14th, and the Blue commander, being of 
opinion that it would be difficult for Red to assume the 
offensive at once with any chance of success, decided to 
wait till his lines of communication were in better order 
before renewing his operations. 

3. During the morning of the 1 5th information came 
in that Red was retiring. This was confirmed later in the 
day, and by 5 p.m. the Blue cavalry reported that they 
had gained the line Hollyford-Kilfeakle, and were oppos- 
ing Red cavalry on the north and centre portion of this 
line, and Redinfantiy on the south. During the day Red 
troops were seen marching south-east along the Tipperary- 
Caher road, and a Blue cavalry regiment at Rosegreen 



126 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

was unable to dislodge Red troops from the line CIcrahan- 
Newinn and thence westwards to the Suir. 

4. The Blue commander was of opinion that the main 
Red army had retired west, but he determined to clear up 
the situation about Caher before advancing westwards. 
With this object in view, the 18th division, 45th infantry 
brigade, and 9th cavalry brigade were ordered to attack 
the Red troops about Caher, gain possession of that place, 
and, advancing by Mitchelstown and the Bally landers Pass, 
rejoin the main army, which would advance west directly 
Caher was occupied. 

5. The officer appointed to command this detachment 
was directed to make all necessary preparations on 16th, 
and attack the Red troops about Caher on June 17. 

6. At 5 P.M. on June 15 the Blue southern army was 
occupying the following bivouacs : 

Army headquarters and army troops, 14th and 
15th divisions (including 45th brigade of 16th divi- 
sion), about Holycross, with outposts to the west. 

16th division between Holycross and Cashel, with 
outposts to the west. 

17th division east of Golden, with outposts on the 
Suir. 

ISthdivisionaboutCashel, withoutpoststo the south. 

7th and 8th cavalry brigades on the line HoUy- 
ford-Kilfeakle. 

9th cavalry brigade, less one regiment at Rose- 
green, in reserve at Ballagh. 
The 18th division was heavily engaged on 14th, and 
the 45th brigade was mostly in reserve. 



Notes on the Blue Special Idea. — Paragraph 1. The 
Blue araiy is made superior to Red chiefly because it 
is best for one side to be larger than the other. In this 
particular case the Blue capital, as in 1866, is so near the 



■^ THE PREPARATIOX (IF THE SCHEME V27 

Red eastern frontier that an adecjuate force is necessary to 
secure its safety. Line of conununication troops should 
ahvays be friven to the in%*ading side, and when the scheme 
is Imsed on a threat again,st that line, the actual strength 
of each post should also be stated. The routes by which 
supplies are forwarded nni.st be given, because a good deal 
of the connnander's strategy will hinge on that. This is 
unimportant for the defenders^ because they ai-e operating 
in their own country ; they have the use of their railways, 
and can usually supply themselves from several directions. 
If a railway is being repaired, rail-head ii'?elf and the 
loc*ality it h expected to reach in a week or a fortnight's 
time should be stated, because this will influence the 
action of the invader. The reference to the Red cavalry 

I is a type of the vague inforniation a commander receives 
ill real war. 
I Paragraph 2 supplies a reason for a pause in the opera- 
lions of the main southern forces. It may be considered 
that this paragraph is unnecessary, because immediately 
afterwards the situation is ohang€^d by the Red retreat, 
and Blue is again called upon to tulvance* The chief object 
of it5 insertion was to complete the story and make it 
nioi^ realistic. Some people might think that if Red 
etreatsj the Blue commander could stay whei-e he is and 
rait till his lines of communication are in proper working 
onier, and then advance against Red. This plan, however, 
HPirould hai'dly be approve<l by a General who was conver- 
^M&nt with the higher branches of the ail of war, especially 
^KonsiderJng that the Blue communications are not yet very 
^Hong. Such action would involve the loss of the initiative ; 
HChe Red miglit be more sorely in need of a paitse in the 
operations than Blue ; the Blue capital is still close in 
rear ; no decisive a^^tion has yet been fought^ and Red may 
lie. falling bac^k on reinforcements. The old principle of 
^■drategy applies here, us In all similar cases, that it is 



128 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

necessary to seek out the enemy, bring him to battle and 
defeat him, at the earliest possible moment. 

Paragraph 3. This gives an account of the Red retreat 
so far as it would be known to Blue. Some attempt has 
been made to mystify Blue as to the movements and inten- 
tions of the Red commander. In real war a commander 
is generally left in doubt regarding these points, and it is 
advisable to produce similar situations in peace exercises, 
to accustom officers to conduct operations with determina- 
tion and vigour at a time when there is every temptation 
to delay. 

Paragraph 4* contains the intentions of the Blue com- 
mander. The actual strength of the Blue detachment 
sent towards Caher can be varied according to the require- 
ments of the Staff Ride, but it could not hope to do much 
if it was less than one division, and it is doubtful if the 
Blue commander would care to detach more than two 
divisions until he had more definite information of the 
whereabouts of the main Red army. As already noticed, 
the solution of this problem, both on the Red and Blue 
sides, would form an instructive strategical exercise for a 
large Staff Ride, where the officers on each side would be 
working with the whole of the Red and Blue southern 
forces, including the detachments. In this case the 
decision as to the strength of the detachments on each 
side would be left entirely in the hands of the commanders. 

The plan suggested in this paragraph is open to criticism. 
The Blue commander is dividing his forces and is advanc- 
ing on each side of an impassable obstacle, just as the 
Crown Prince did on each side of the Hochwald on 
August 5 and 6, 1870, before and during the battle of 
Worth. 

An alternative plan would be to detach one and a half 
divisions to capture Caher, and then send a smaller force 
towards Mitchelstown. As already explained, we require 



THE PREPARATION OF T|1B. SCHEME 129 

at least a division for the purposes of^.the Staff Ride, so it 
is proposed to allow this imperfection to remain. The 
schemes presented to officers in war are by no means 
flawless, and we cannot expect to reach perfection when 
preparing an imaginary scheme in peace-time, though we 
should aim at making the strategical situation as real and 
as practical as possible. 

Paragraph 5 affords the officers on the Blue side suffi- 
cient administrative and tactical work on June 16. 

Paragraph 6 gives the exact position of all the troops 
on the Blue side. This is necessary, in order that the 
officer commanding the Blue detachment may arrange for 
assembling his force for the attack on the Ked troops about 
Caher. 

There are a few points in connection with these schemes 
which it is advisable to notice, because they arise in almost 
every scheme based on imaginary operations. It will be 
found that the commander on one side has an easier or 
more instinictive problem to solve than the General who is 
opposing him. It is difficult to avoid this, because, when 
building up the general and special ideas, the director is 
bound to make the operations of one side hinge on those 
of the other, and it is more by good luck than good 
management when it turns out in the end that each com- 
mander has an equally difficult and equally instructive 
problem to deal with. 

Then again, it may be found, as in this case, that the 
detached commanders on each side have no important 
strategical problem to solve ; this perhaps is an advantage 
more than a disadvantage. Hitherto the directors of Staff 
Rides have attached great importance to the plan of opera- 
tions, and both they and their staff, and consecjuently the 
officers under instruction, have become absorbed in strate- 
gical questions, which no doubt are most interesting, but 
which throw in the shade the solution of the more practical 



130 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 
problems of tactics and administration which form the 
daily study of subordinate commanders and staff* officers in 
real war. 

If it is desired to give more prominence to strategy, 
larger forces must be employed, such as the main 
southern armies in the above schemes. When the Red 
commander retires on Kilmallock, leaving a detachment 
at Caher, and the Bhie commander is left on the Suir, 
an instructive strategical problem is presented to both 
commanders. In fact, it would form an interesting 
scheme, but would be more suitable for a command 
Staff* Ride, where senior Generals are employed, than for a 
divisional exercise. 

Having drafted the general and special ideas, two staff 
officers should be appointed to work out the problem, one 
for each side. They should have taken no part in the pre- 
paration of the scheme, and should be requested to bring 
to notice any defects they observe, such as Red being 
written instead of Blue, or north instead of south- A 
frequent source of error is caused by some slight altera- 
tion made at the end of one of the special ideas, which 
would involve an alteration somewhere else which is for- 
gotten. For example, a Staff* Ride was once held where a 
most important item of information was inserted in the 
special idea. Blue, which in real war would be well known 
to Red. By an oversight the Red commander was not in- 
formed of this matter till the final conference at the end 
of the Staff* Ride, whereas if he had known it, as he should 
have done, at the commencement, the whole of his plan of 
operations would have been changed. 

The two officers who work out the scheme should also 
be asked to state if they consider that they have been 
given sufficient information such as they might reasonably 
expect to possess in real war ; if not, they should state 
what additions it is advisable to make to the scheme. 



THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME 131 

The general and special ideas can then be corrected, and 
finally prepared for issue. 

Schemes which are taken direct from examples in history, 
and are not based on imaginary situations, are explained 
in Chapter VII. Those for single Staff Rides for opera- 
tions against hill tribes or in savage warfare, are dealt 
with in Chapters IX. and X. Schemes for Regimental 
Tours are considered in Chapter XVII. 



CHAPTER VI 

A SUMMARY OF THE STEPS TO BE TAKEN IN 
THE PREPARATION OF THE SCHEME, EX- 
TRACTED FROM CHAPTERS HI TO V, WITH 
A FEW ADDITIONS 

Before quitting the subject of the preparation of imagin- 
ary schemes it is advisable to review the various points 
that have appeared, and endeavour to draw up a few 
general rules which can be applied with advantage to all 
schemes, and which may save much time, trouble, and 
disappointment to those whose duties require the frequent 
preparation of these documents. 

Perhaps the most important point of all, and one which 
applies equally to all staff work in the Army, is that no 
good scheme can be written in a few hours. However 
clever and however experienced in such work a staff 
officer may be, it is necessary for him to analyse most 
carefully every idea that is drafted into the scheme, to 
make sure that the conclusions and deductions which will 
be drawn from it are what is really intended, and that the 
officers have got sufficient information to work on. 

Schemes drawn up in a perfunctory manner almost 
invariably react on the staff* officer who has prepared 
them, and involve him in difficulties. 

It is only human nature for officers under instruction 
to adopt a somewhat antagonistic attitude towards the 
scheme, and even to be secretly pleased when they discover 
a mistake. If this mistake is brought to the notice of the 



A SUMMARY 133 

staflP officer, it is again only human nature for the latter 
to make another mistake — that is to say, to take up the 
cudgels in defence of his scheme, and thus involve himself 
in a labyrinth of unsound arguments to prove that the 
scheme is right. If there is a mistake in the scheme, or if 
during the exercise it appears that it could have been 
greatly improved by inserting one thing and omitting 
something else, it is better for the author to acknowledge 
the error. He will find himself in good company, because 
no scheme either in peace or war was ever yet invented 
that might not be improved upon, and many of them, 
especially in war, contain serious errors. 

If the officers under instruction are too critical, there is 
always one argument which is unanswerable, and which 
will make them return to their task with fresh ardour. 
No scheme was ever invented in peace-time which was 
more difficult or more impossible than some problems which 
officers have been called upon to solve in war, sometimes 
with the certain knowledge that by the evening neither 
they nor their men would ever be troubled with such 
matters again. Criticism, either on the part of the 
directing staff or the officers under instruction, is only use- 
ful on the one hand when it contains definite instruction, 
and on the other when it is necessary to enable the officer 
to fulfil his task. The critic who aims at proving some 
one else in the wrong and himself in the right will never 
be a good instructor, nor will he gain full value from the 
efforts of others to instiTict him. 

The great point for every one to remember is that we 
are all working for the good of the Army, and all endea- 
vouring to gain sufficient knowledge of our profession to 
enable us, in our respective ranks and appointments, to 
do the right thing when the enemy is actually in front 
of us. 

The following summary of Chapters III., IV., and V. is 



134 STAFF RIDKS AND REGIiMENTAL TOURS 

inserted to assist officers in preparing schemes, so that they 
can see at a glance the successive stages in the construction 
of the general and special ideas, include important details 
which might be overlooked, and avoid the introduction of 
ideas which are of doubtful value. 

At the end of each paragraph of this summary a refer- 
ence is given to the pages where full particulars will be 
found of the points mentioned. 

Detachments sent forward in front of an army should 
be avoided, except in desert or mountainous country 
where the enemy cannot bring large numbers against 
them (p. 43). 

The physical features of the country and the roads, 
railways, &c., where the operations are actually taking 
place, should not be subject to any imaginary change, but 
large rivers, mountains, &c., can be supposed to exist close 
at hand, provided it is not actually required to traverse 
them. If it is desired to limit the use of roads, those 
available must be clearly indicated and all others described 
as impassable for one or all arms, according to the 
requii'ements of the case (p. 44). 

When it is desired to introduce imaginary fortresses 
the general line of permanent works should be notified to 
both sides. Weather should be accepted as on the day of 
the exercise (p. 45). 

It is generally considered d(^sirable to give the com- 
mander on each side some exercise in the solution of 
strategical as well as tactical and administrative problems, 
but as the forces to be employed are small, it is not to be 
expected that any complicated problems of strategy can 
be prepared. By selecting a sound reason for making a 
detachment, the commanders on each side can be given 
sufficient freedom of action to ensure the consideration of 
a fair amount of strategy (p. 45). 



A SUMMARY 135 

It is most important to discover good reasons for making 
the detachment. These reasons can be found more easily 
after a campaign has been in progress for some time than 
at the commencement, when both armies are usually 
concentrated (p. 46). 

A scheme based on a small detachment which is landed 
on the shores of England is usually lacking in probability 
and interest. Many difficulties arise, such as the disposal 
of the British Fleet, the fact that small detachments do 
not invade a hostile country, unreal delays in the mobilisa- 
tion of the defending army, &c. (p. 47). 

Sufficient information must be given in the general and 
special ideas, even if brevity is sacrificed for the purpose. 
The object is to afford officers a general knowledge of the 
situation such as they would possess in real war. If the 
scheme is rather long, the fact is immaterial, because it can 
be issued several days before the Staff Ride commences, 
and officers will have plenty of time to study it (p. 52). 

Some attempt should be made to indicate the moral of 
the troops on each side, and the directing staff must dis- 
courage any attempts to use troops in an unpractical 
manner, such as to direct a division which has just failed 
in a costly attack to immediately advance against another 
paii; of the enemy'^s position (p. 48). 

The scheme should include information on some of the 
following points according to the class of operation it is 
desired to practise. 

The peculiar tactics of the enemy ; the composition of his 
anny, the efficiency of its training, its resources in men, 
money, and material ; the national food-supply, system of 
government, and control of the Press. These could 
usually be summed up by stating that Red is a country 
similar to one European or other Power, and Blue to 
another. Other matters are the attitude of neutral 
Powers ; the vital points on each side, such as the capital. 



186 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

lilies of communication, base, railway, road, commercial or 
manufacturing centres; fortresses, their strength, and 
sometimes a rough estimate of their gamson ; and naval 
supremacy, without any unnecessary details as to how it 
was brought about (p. 51). 

An officer when preparing an imaginary scheme is 
forced to rely on his knowledge of war, and on his -own 
imagination, for the production of the required situation. 
A study of the following detachments which have been 
made in actual war for sound strategical reasons will help 
him to overcome his difficulties (p. 53). 

A. A Red detachment made to threaten a Blue vital 
point and induce Blue to detach a still larger force, thus 
weakening his main army and enabling Red to concentrate 
superior force against it (p. 53). 

B. A detachment made by a Blue force, acting on 
interior lines, with the object of delaying the advance of 
a stronger Red detachment, whilst the main Blue army 
concentrates superior force against another part of the 
Red army (p. 56). 

In this case one army must usually be operating on two 
or more lines, examples of which are given on p. 56. 

C. A detachment made with the object of deceiving the 
enemy as to the intentions of the General commanding the 
main army, especially when it is obvious that two or three 
distinctly different lines of operation are open to the 
latter (p. 59). 

D. A detachment made from the flank of the main 
army with the object of gaining the enemy'*s flank or rear 
and inducing him to retire from a very strong position 
which cannot I)e attacked with a reasonable prasj)ect of 
success (p. 60). 



A SUMMARY 137 

E. A detachment made before an attack with the sole 
object of cutting off the enemy's hne of retreat, pursuing 
him, or confining his retreat to one desired direction, whilst 
the main army attacks him and drives him back, unaided 
by the detachment (p. 63). 

F. A detachment made in connection with the attack 
or defence of a fortress, or to cover or raise a siege 
(p. 65). 

G. A detachment made with the object of protecting 
the lines of communication of an army, and also of guard- 
ing its flank (p. 69). 

H. A detachment made to guard the flank of an army 
when advancing, retiring, or stationary (p. 71). 

I. A detachment made solely with the object of guard- 
ing the lines of communication of an army or some vital 
{)oint at a distance from the main army, such as the capital, 
a great railway centre, an important pass, or a sea base 
(p. 73). 

J. A detachment made with the object of attacking the 
enemy in rear, whilst the remainder of the force attacks 
the enemy in front (p. 76). 

K. A detachment made with the object of blocking a 
defile (p. 78). 

L. A detachment made to the front or the flank of an 
army to cover the crossing of a difficult obstacle or to 
cover a change of direction (p. 79). 

M. A detachment made with the object of raiding the 
encmy^s line of communication, either to obtain informa- 
tion as to his movements, to destroy an important railway 



\U STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

or magazine, or to induce him to detach troops from his 
main army to protect his line of supply (p. 81). 

N. A detachment made to collect cattle or supplies, to 
prevent the enemy from using a certain area as a source of 
supply, to intimidate a troublesome population, or to quell 
a local rising (p. 83). 

O. A detachment made towards another detachment to 
secure the junction of the latter with the main army (p. 83). 

P. A detachment made either with the object of effect- 
ing a landing at one point on an enemy'^s coast -line, and 
thus diverting his attention from the point where the main 
landing is intended to take place, to secure a base for the 
landing of the main army, or to make a raid against some 
vital point (p. 86). 

Q. A detachment pushed forward in front of an army 
to secure an important strategical point, such as a moun- 
tain pass, or to defend a supply depot (p. 89). 

R. A detachment which has been employed on one of the 
duties enumerated in the above seventeen different types, 
and which is required to rejoin the main army (p. 91). 

Examples of detachments made in a campaign where 
the enemy consists of untrained soldiers, guerillas, semi- 
civilised or uncivilised inhabitants and tribesmen, are not 
very suitable to adopt as a basis for an imaginary scheme 
when it is intended that each side should be represented 
by a party of officers (p. 94). 

When it is desired to practise the transportation of 
troops across the sea and their disembarkation, it is best 
to assume that England is a foreign country, in which case 
there is no occasion to introduce undesirable statements &s 
to the disposal of the British Fleet (p. 94). 

The unreadiness of an army for war is not a good i*easou 



A SUMMARY I'M) 

for making a detachment, because all armies ought to be 
i-eady for war, and it rarely occurs that they are not 
(p. 95). 

In Chapter V. the following notes, which apply to most 
schemes, may be worth inclusion in this summary. 

The selection of the particular form of detachment for 
each side will depend upon the nature of the ground 
where the Staff Ride is to be held, or else, the class of 
operation having been decided upon, suitable ground must 
be found which will meet the requirements of the case. 
Having decided upon the ground and the reason for 
making a detachment from one of the opposing armies, it 
is best to wait till the history of the operations has taken 
some shape before deciding upon the reason for making a 
detachment from the other army. 

A sketch on tracing-paper of the situation it is required 
to produce, drawn on the same scale as the map, should 
then be prepared, and twisted about on the map, or 
turned upside down if necessary, until it fits in with the 
physical features pf the country. The sketch of the 
situation will indicate the distance of the main army from 
the detachment, and the reason for making a detachment 
from one army will form material on which the general 
and special ideas can be constructed (p. 96). 

Frontiers and capitals can be located wherever is most 
convenient, lines of communication and rail-head can be 
laid down ; a description of how the main armies got into 
the required position, and why one of them made a 
detachment, can then be prepared. It is desirable that a 
battle should have been fought and that one side should 
have invaded the country belonging to the other before 
tlie Staff Ride commences. This gives a reason for a 
{)ause in the operations, and, what is more important, it is 
usually the period in every camjwiign when detachments 
arc first made (p. 98). 



140 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

None of these matters can be fixed definitely, because it 
will be discovered without fail, later on in the scheme, 
that some alterations are required. The main idea of the 
scheme must always be kept in view, otherwise it will be 
found that the narrative of events will drift into a totally 
different class of operation, which may be unsuitable for 
the size of the force it is desired to employ or for the 
ground where the exercise is to be held. 

In the example of a scheme given in Chapter V. it will be 
noticed that the original idea was maintained throughout, 
and was applied to the scheme by utilising the obstacle 
formed by the Galty mountains. Whatever minor 
alterations were required, this one idea formed the comer- 
stone of the whole structure. It will save much labour if 
the scheme is built up in this manner, and, what is equally 
important, some finality will be reached at an early stage, 
and the completed scheme will prove to be more satis- 
factory and comprehensive than one commenced on no 
definite foundation. 

It is best not to fix the strength or composition of any 
of the forces until a more advanced stage is reached, 
except that we are bound by circumstances to produce a 
detachment of about a brigade in a brigade Staff Ride 
and a division in a divisional Staff Ride. The exact 
composition of the detachment should not be decided in a 
haphazard manner, but only after visiting the ground and 
considering what amount of cavalry and artillery can 
usefully be employed in the type of country where the 
operations will take place. 

Having thus prepared a general framework for the 
scheme, the history of the operations can be written, and 
we can turn to a consideration of what information should 
be put into the general idea and what should be kept 
for the special idea on each side. 

It should be remembered that though modern science, 



A SUMMARY Ul 

by means of ordinary and wireless telegraphy, has |)roduce<l 
more rapid and more certain means of coinn)iinicating 
intelligence and orders, modern weapons have caused a 
corresponding decrease in the extent and reliability of the 
information available regarding the strength, movements, 
and dispositions of the enemy. 

It is false teaching, when instructing officers in peace 
time, to give them information about the enemy which 
they would never possess in war. The bad effects of such 
instruction are very apparent to the officer who has been 
taught in this manner, when he finds the enemy in front 
of him, and is incapable of deciding whether he has to 
deal with a hostile army corps or a few squadrons of 
cavalry with some horee artillery. In peace excercise he 
should be taught to arrive at sound conclusions as to the 
enemy^s strength, not by counting the hostile troops in 
front of him, as they used to do a hundred years ago, but 
by studying the situation, the gi'ound, and the resistance 
hitherto encountered. The situation may disclose what 
the enemy's strength is likely to be ; the ground will show 
whether the position in front is suitable for occupation 
by a division or a brigade ; and the previous opposition 
will indicate whether the hostile troops in front belong to 
the enemy's cavalry or his main body. 

Officers commanding detachments in war are never so 
well placed, as regards information, as the commander of 
the main anny. TTiey have neither the means of collect- 
ing and sifting information, such as exist at army head- 
quarters, nor have they such definite knowledge to work 
on as the Commander-in-Chief. He probably at least 
knows the approximate total strength that the enemy can 
bring against him, but neither he nor the detached com- 
mander can tell how many hostile troops the latter will 
encounter in the execution of his task. This is the main 
reason why it is So important that the officer commanding 



142 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

a detachment should possess determination of character, 
because without it he will do little, and any hesitation, or 
needless change of plan, will not only defeat the object 
which he was sent out to attain, but may involve the 
detachment itself in disaster. 

The general idea should include only such information 
as each commander may reasonably expect that the other 
possesses. Accurate details regarding the strength and 
composition of the opposing forces, the intentions of 
commanders, and the movements of troops should be 
reserved for the special ideas. The object of each com- 
mander should not be put into the general idea unless it 
is apparent from the previous histoiy of the operations 
that each side would know it (p. 99). 

Any assumed change in the physical features of the 
country, roads, railways &c., the introduction of imagin- 
ary fortresses, or any demolitions which both sides would 
be aware of, should be inserted in the general idea. The 
statement on page 51 regarding the military peculiarities 
of each side might all be included in the general idea 
(p. 100). 

It is best to commence with a fictitious date, and then 
alter the whole of the dates when the scheme is complete 
(p. 101). 

The ground should be visited before the general and 
special ideas are finally drafted, to ensure that it is suit- 
able for the class of operation it is proposed to carry out 
(p. 101). 

The general idea should contain a brief history of the 
operations which lead up to the situation at the com- 
mencement of the Staff Ride, and should give the officers 
a bird's-eye view, or general knowledge, of the main 
features of the campaign, such as they would possess in 
real war. The history should be prepared with due regard 
to probabilities and to the principles of-strategy. 



A SUMMARY U.T 

When it is desired to employ small forces for a Staff* 
Ride, it will be necessary sometimes to form a detachment 
from a larger detachment, so as to avoid unrealistic^ in- 
vasions by two or three divisions. 

The special idea for the side on which the whole scheme 
is based should be prepared fii-st, and that for the other 
side made to fit in with its requirements. It should con- 
tain the strength and composition of the main army, so 
far as is necessary, and the exact strength and distribution 
of the detachment. In some schemes, where the main 
army is opei'ating at a considerable distance from the 
detachment, it is unnecessary to insert details regarding 
the strength of the former. For example, in the Mnnster 
scheme no details are given of the main lied and Blue 
armies, who are fighting a hundred miles away in Ulster. 
When the main army is close to the detachment, its exact 
composition should be given in the special idea, as in the 
case of the Red and Blue southern armies in the above 
mentioned scheme. 

As a rule it should be clearly shown whether the com- 
mander of either detachment can call for reinforcements. 
It is only human nature for a commander to get as many 
troops as he can, and when working out the scheme during 
the Staff Ride each commander will endeavour to collect 
the strongest force possible. It has sometimes occurred 
that a scheme has been spoiled by the commander on one 
side being allowed to assemble a larger force than was 
originally intended, and the operations have become too 
one-sided. For example, in a scheme where a line of 
communications has been protected by two or more flying 
columns, and the opposing force has been calculated of 
sufficient strength to deal with only one of them, some 
condition should be inserted to siiow the officer connnand- 
ing one of these columns that he is unable to call upon 
the other for assistance. 



144 STAl^T RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Any information which one side might be expected to 
obtain regarding the strength of the other, from previous 
operations, should be included in the special idea. In 
the Munster scheme two battles had been fought, and 
though neither was decisive, the commanders on each side 
would be able to estimate within a thousand men the 
numbers on the other side, especially by the capture of 
prisoners. 

The exact date when the Staff Ride commences must be 
carefully considered. The officers usually assemble during 
the afternoon of the first day, and the reconnaissance 
work on the ground will commence on the second day. 
This work on the ground must deal with military require- 
ments which will not arise before the afternoon of the second 
day, and it must be assumed that all staff work which 
depends on the ground, and which would be required for 
any operations previous to the afternoon of the second 
day, has been completed. The work of the officers on the 
evening of the first day must be confined to the prepara- 
tion of orders and appreciations, and matters of war 
administration, such as supply, intelligence, line of com- 
munication, &c. 

The special idea on each side should contain an elabora- 
tion of the events described in the general idea, such as 
the exact composition of the main army (if necessary), 
and of the detachment ; the intentions of the chief com- 
mander and his instructions to the officer commanding the 
detachment ; any further information that the officers 
would be acquainted with in real war. 

The strength and composition of the detachment will 
depend on the number and rank of the officers to be 
employed and the nature of the ground selected for the 
operations. This last is very important, because some- 
times we find that a detachment is sent off into perfectly 
open country with no obstacle on its front or flanks to 



A SUMMARY 145 

assist it. This matter is considered further in Chapter VII. 
(p. 148). 

In the desire for brevity, schemes have frequently been 
spoiled by giving too little information. 

When the general and special ideas have been drafted, 
two officers, who have not seen the scheme, should be 
selected to work out the operations on the map, each 
officer being given the general idea and the special idea 
fo.r one side. By this means mistakes will be discovered 
and improvements suggested (p. 109). 

The composition of each detachment should not be 
arrived at in a haphazard manner, but should be decided 
after a careful consideration of the ground, the require- 
ments of the situation, and the nature of the Staff* Ride 
(p. 112). 

The instructions to the commander of each detachment 
should include a definite task, but should contain no 
suggestions as to how the problem should be solved. The 
exact dispositions of his troops at the moment the Staff* 
Ride commences must be given to each commander in his 
special idea, so that he can issue comprehensive oixlers. 
For the purposes of the Staff* Ride it is necessary that the 
exact hour when troops can be moved should be given, 
otherwise one or both commanders will probably conunence 
with a night march. This introduces complications re- 
garding the direction of the Staff* Ride which it is advisable 
to postpone till the second or third day, as explained in 
Chapter VIII. 

It is best to arrange that the troops on em*h side reach 
bivouacs, on the first night, out of touch with the enemy, 
with a prospect of being able to recomioiti-e the gmund 
on the second day, for the th'trd day\s operations, without 
being prevented by the enemy (p. 114). 

Having completed the general idea and the special idea^ 
Red, the special idea for Blue must then be worked up to 



146 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

suit that of Red. During this process it may be found 
necessary to alter the Red special idea in order to obtain 
more suitable work for the officers on the Blue side. To 
ascertain if this is necessary, it is advisable to run through 
the events from the point of view of the Blue side (p. 121). 

To ensure that the officer commanding each side will 
be likely to act so as to bring about a collision between 
the opposing forces, it is necessary to give each of them a 
definite object, but at the same time no instructions should 
be given as to the method of attaining this object (p. 122). 

If a commander gets on wrong lines, and the operations 
in consequence are likely to afford little instruction, the 
directing staff, by means of the daily narrative, and keeping 
in mind the main objective given to each commander, 
must inform the connnander that the methods he proposes 
are not approved by his imaginary superior, because they 
are at variance with his instructions, and that he must 
suggest an alternative course (p. 123). 

The fact that the scheme has been worked out before- 
hand, and a probable course of events considered, will 
obviate many errors, and will disclose the probability or 
otherwise of the scheme producing an instructive situation. 
If this is not found to be the case, it is best to prepare a 
fresh scheme altogether ; a patched-up scheme, or one 
twisted about to suit a class of operation different to what 
was originally intended, is rarely a success, and is usually 
fruitful in errors. 

After the bivouacs of the main Blue army have been 
decided upon, and the work of the officers on the Blue side 
made to fit in with that on the Red, the special idea. Blue, 
can be completed (p. 125). 



CHAFrER VII 

THE PREPARATION OF SCHEMES TAKEN DIRECT 
FROM HISTORY 

The second method of preparing schemes, mentioned in 
Chapter V., is perhaps more simple than the system of 
adopting purely imaginary situations. The officer who is 
preparing the general and special ideas is not required to 
describe an imaginary campaign and overcome the many 
difficulties which have been discussed already. He has 
merely to select a situation from history, where the forces 
employed on each side were similar to those recjuired for 
the Staff* Ride, and then transfer the actual position of the 
troops to the locality where it is proposed to hold the 
exerciae. 

A situation produced in this manner is not always 
strategically sound, thougli it is more easily described, and 
probably more interesting to officers who have studied the 
campaign, than a purely imaginary scheme. In real war 
commanders make mistakes, and these mistakes frequently 
take the form of unnecessary detachments, or of operations 
unskilfully conducted which lead up to the necessity for 
making detachments. If therefore a scheme is taken from 
history it may be discovered that the whole situation is 
based on bad strategy, and the officers under instruction 
may consider that the value of tlie exercise is materially 
reduced. 

As, however, these somewhat false situations have arisen 
frequently in war, and may be encountered again in the 



148 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

futui-e, there is no serious objection to introducing them 
during a peace exercise, especially if the bad strategy on 
one side or the other is brought home to the officers. It 
is better, if possible, to select an example in which the 
strategy on at least one side is not open to serious criticism. 

This method of preparing schemes is, however, subject 
to certain limitations, the most important being caused by 
the strategical effect of the physical features of a theatre 
of war on military operations. A mistake which is some- 
times made, and which invariably spoils the Staff Ride, is 
to practise the operations of a detachment in country 
which is quite unsuited for the task carried out by the 
commander in the historical example. 

For instance, in May 1862 GeneralJackson led a detach- 
ment against Milroy, who was advancing towards Staunton 
from the west, whilst Banks was threatening that town 
from the north (see Sketch No. 11). This operation 
depended for success on the physical features of the'cbuntry 
— the Shenandoah valley, the Blue ridge, Massanutton 
and Shenandoah mountains — and on the bad roads, the 
])aucity of railways, and the character of Jackson "'s 
opponents. Banks was cooped up in the Shenandoah 
valley, and Milroy in the mountains to the west of it, and 
this alone rendered it possible for Jackson to initiate and 
can-y out his plan. 

If this situation is transferred without consideration to 
the undulating plains of the Orange River Colony, it 
becomes absurd. Two small detachments are discovered 
wandering aimlessly about the veldt, each with its flanks 
unprotected, and each defending and attacking positions 
which might suit the operations of two or three army 
corps, but which are incapable of adaptation to the 
manoeuvres of such small forces. History teaches us that 
when a detachment is made it must have ground to 
operate over suitable for its size. The only other altema- 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 149 

tives are retreat or the occupation of a hastily constructed 
entrenched camp. In the first case the detachment has 
probably done little to further the designs of the General 
who sent it out, and in the second case another de- 
tachment will probably be necessary to extricate the 
first. 

Except in a war against indifferent troops, or to deceive 
the enemy, or for some other special purpose, detachments 
require some kind of physical obstacle to enable them to 
deal with any equal or superior force that they may 
encounter. As a rule this obstacle should run parallel or 
diagonal to the line of operations of the detachment, and 
not straight across its front. 

For such a scheme it is essential that a locality be chosen 
for a Staff Ride where some physical obstacles actually 
exist, so that the reason for making the detachment is 
apparent and the operations of the detachment itself are 
possible. It is unnecessary, and even undesirable, to 
attempt to discover exactly similar ground. The chief 
obstacle may be a river instead of a line of hills ; it may be 
differently placed as regards direction to the one in the 
historical example, but it must exist where the troops arc 
supposed to be actually manoeuvring. 

There is no serious objection to the introduction of 
imaginary obstacles, provided they are situated outside the 
area of operations which is contemplated for the Staff 
Ride, but wherever officers are required to reconnoitre 
ground, the physical features of the country cannot be 
subject to any imaginary change without creating false 
situations and without losing the greater part of the 
instruction. For example, the Galty mountains could be 
taken to represent the Massanutton hills : they are both 
impassable for troops except at certain points, and any of 
Jackson's operations in the Shenandoah valley which were 
affected by the presence of the Massanutton range could 



150 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

be reproduced in the neighbourhood of Mitchelstown or 
Kilmallock. 

On the other hand, the Malvern hills would not be 
suitable, because troops can manoeuvre over them with 
comparative ease, and any operations on the lower ground 
on either side would be completely dominated by these 
accessible hills. To overcome this difficulty it has been 
attempted sometimes to fix a line beyond which it is sup- 
posed that troops cannot move, but the situations pro- 
duced in this manner are unreal and uninstructive. 

The same does not apply to a river as an obstacle, 
because it is no great strain on the reconnoitring officer'*s 
imagination to suppose that the river is unfordable, and is 
sixty yards wide instead of ten or twenty. It would be 
just as difficult to force the passage or manoeuvre on both 
banks in the one case as in the other. Even a small 
stream may be assumed to be a wide river, but it is better 
to avoid such imaginary enlargements if possible. 

Outside the actual area of operations for the Staff Ride 
there is no objection to the creation of imaginary objects 
wherever they are required, but when this is done it is 
necessary to describe in the scheme the exact line beyond 
which no troops can manoeuvre, otherwise strategical and 
tactical plans involving wide turning movements will be 
suggested by the officers taking part in the Staff Ride. 

For example, it might be intended to hold a Staff* Ride 
in the neighbourhood of the Galty mountains, and to 
take the scheme from the operations of Jackson at the end 
of May 1862, when he advanced down the Shenandoah 
valley against Banks (see Sketch No. 15). In this case 
the Knockmealdown and Kilworth mountains could be 
supposed to represent the Shenandoah mountain, the 
Galty mountains the Massanuttons ; and it should be 
stated that a range of hills, representing the Blue Ridge, 
is supposed to exist to the north, and that no troops can 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 151 

manoeuvre north of the Cashel-Tipperary-Kilfinane road 
in consequence. 

When the historical example is of the nature of an 
advance through a defile, such as the Austrian and 
Prussian operations at Trautenau or Nachod in 1866, or 
Kuroki's advance against the Mo-tien-Ling in 1904, it is 
essential to select some sort of a defile for the Staff Ride. 
That is to say, some locality where the operations on each 
side must be narrowed down, with a physical obstacle on 
each flank. 

Having compared several historical examples with the 
ground that is available for the Staff Ride, and having 
selected one example as the most suitable to fit in with the 
physical features of the country, it is advisable to draw a 
skeleton map on a piece of tracing-paper of the country 
from which the example is taken, and on the same scale as 
the map of the country where the Staff Ride is to be held. 
This skeleton map would contain the important physical 
features and towns ; it could be placed on the Staff Ride 
map and twisted about until there was some resemblance 
between the two. 

Operations on a big river like the Danube, Po, Rhine, 
Elbe, Yalu, &c., could easily be duplicated on the Thames, 
Severn, Orange, Vaal, Ganges, Irrawaddy, &c. It is extra- 
ordinary how large towns, bridges, &c., can be found on 
the Staff Ride map which occupy much the same relative 
positions as those on the historical map. At this stage of 
the proceedings it would probably be necessary to intro- 
duce a few imaginary obstacles outside the actual area of 
operations, and possibly to reduce or increase the number 
of bridges over a river on the Staff Ride map. The posi- 
tion of the opposing forces on the selected date could then 
be placed on the Staff Ride map. 

It is undesirable to adhei'e to the exact number or exact 
position of the troops in the example, and it should be 



152 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

stated in the general idea that though the scheme is 
taken, say, from Jackson^s operations at the end of May 
1862, the exact number and position of the opposing forces 
has not been retained. Otherwise the officers taking pai-t 
in the Staff Ride obtain more knowledge of the strength, 
dispositions, and intentions of their opponent than was 
possessed by the commanders in the historical parallel. 

The object should be to bring the real campaign up to 
a certain date on the Staff Ride map, and then let the 
commander on each side solve the problem thus created. 
ITie solution must naturally be different to that in the 
example, because the ground is different. 

The best method of explaining how these schemes can 
be prepared is to work out a definite example. We will 
suppose that the Staff Ride is to be held near Dublin, 
and that the idea is to use the Wicklow mountains to 
practise the operations of General Gourko against the 
Shipka Pass, immediately after the Russian passage of the 
Danube in 1877 (see Sketch No. 19). 

It is necesnary to have some idea of this nature to work 
on, because the scheme depends on the ground, and it is 
useless to devote several hours of labour in studying the 
details of an historical example only to find that the 
ground is quite unsuitable. 

In this case a glance at the map shows that the two 
roads leading south-east over the Wicklow mountains 
from Blessington and Baltinglass can be taken to represent 
the Hankioi and Shipka Passes respectively. The Shannon 
is almost in exactly the right position to represent the 
Danube, and important Irish road-centres can be found to 
represent those in the actual theatre of war in Turkey. As 
the river Danube did not affect the operations of Gouiko, 
the position of the Shannon is really immaterial, except 
that it makes the general scheme more realistic. Similarly 
the fact that the sea lies to the east of the Wicklow 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 1.53 

mountains, instead of country like that beyond the 
Balkans, will not affect the actual operations practised 
during the Staff* Ride. 

It is necessary, first, to draw a sketch on tracing-paper 
of the country between the Balkans and the Danube, on 
the same scale as the map in use for preparing the scheme 
for the Staff Bide, usually ten or fifteen miles to the inch. 
A suitable date should then be selected to produce afa 
interesting situation for the Staff Ride, and the strength 
and position of the Russian and Turkish troops on that 
date marked on the sketch. The sketch should only con- 
tain the important physical features, such as the Balkans, 
the Danube, and road-centres like Plevna, Tirnova, &c. 

It is unnecessary to go into great detail as to the exact 
numbers of each detachment, because it is desirable to 
alter the numbers, and even the positions, of some of the 
troops to suit the requirement sof the Staff Ride ; it is 
only the general situation which it is desired to reproduce. 

In the present example July 12 appears to be a suitable 
date to commence with, but if it is subsequently found to 
be inconvenient we can select an earlier or later date. On 
July 12 the Russian and Turkish forces were disposed as 
follows : 

RUSSIANS. 

Gourko's detachment 8000 infantry, 4000 cavalry, 18 
field and 14 mountain guns, at Timova. 

The leading troops of the Vlllth Corps, marching from 
Sistova, had just reached Tirnova. 

ThelXth Corps was approaching Nikopolis, and arrived 
on the 13th in front of the Turkish position, which covered 
that town. 

The Xllth and Xlllth Corps having crossed the 
Danube at Sistova were moving slowly east towards the 
river Lom to guard the Russian left flank. 



154 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The Xlth Corps was crossing the Danube at Sistova, 
and was held in reserve together with the IVth Corps, 
which completed the passage of the Danube on July BO. 

TURKS. 

About 11,000 men were defending an entrenched 
position on the right bank of the Danube, round 
Nikopolis. These were defeated by the Russians on the 
13th. Osman Pasha with about 50,000 men was about to 
start from Widin towards Plevna, which his advanced 
troops reached on the 19th, picking up some detachments 
from the troops defeated at Nikopolis on the way. 
(Total at Plevna on July 20, 15,000 men and 58 guns.) 

Mehemet Ali with about 65,000 men was at Rasgrad. 
Sulieman Pasha with about 40,000 men was collecting his 
forces in Montenegro with the intention of embarking and 
ultimately advancing from the south towards Adrianople. 
His troops approached Eski Zagra on July 30. 

In the Shipka Pass were 4000 infantry, some mountain 
guns and irregular cavalry. At Hankioi there were 300 
infantry and some cavalry. At Tvarditza (Elena Pass) 
there were 1700 infantry. At Yeni Zagra about 1600 
infantry, and at Kazanlik about 1700 infantry and a few 
guns. A total of about 10,000 men, with some guns and 
irregular cavalry. To the east of Tvarditza, holding the 
line of the Balkans, were 10,000 men and 40 guns. 

General Gourko intended to send a detachment to attack 
the north end of the Shipka Pass on 17th, whilst he ad- 
vanced via Hankioi and attacked the south end of the pass 
on the same day. The northern detachment attacked on 
17th, but were rt pulsed. Gourko's detachment, delayed 
by the resistance of the Turks, was unable to attack till 
18th ; his attack also failed, but on 19th the Turks evacu- 
ated their position, dispersed in the mountains, and the 
Russians gained the pass. 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 155 

If the sketch on tracing-paper is now placed over the 
map of Ireland and twisted about till the line of the 
Balkans coincides with the Wicklow mountains, suitable 
places in Ireland can at once be found to correspond with 
those on the sketch. 

The Danube is represented by the Shannon ; Sistova, 
where the Russian army crossed, by Banagher ; Plevna by 
Thurles, both these being important road-centres ; Tir- 
nova by Kildare ; Drenova by Athy ; Gabrova by TuUow ; 
the Shipka Pass by the Baltinglass-Tinahely road ; the 
Hankioi Pass by the Blessington-Rathdrum road ; Eski 
Zagi'a by Arklow ; and Yeni Zagra by Wicklow. 

The general and special ideas can at once be prepared, 
and might take the following form : 

Ninth Division Staff Ride. 
February 14 to 17. 

The main idea for the scheme is taken from the opera- 
tions of General Gourko against the Shipka Pass in July 
1877, except that the exact numbers and positions of the 
troops is not adhered to. 

General Idea. 

1. On July 12 the Red army is crossing the Shannon 
at Banagher, a force estimated at about two divisions 
has moved south to attack a Blue entrenched camp 
round Killaloe, and a larger force, probably consisting 
of four or five divisions, is moving north-east. Another 
force, strength unknown, is marching from Banagher 
towards Kildare. 

2. The Blue army has several divisions near Cavan. 
Blue troops are holding the line of the Wicklow mountains. 
A force of about three or four Bhie divisions has Ix^en 
assembled near Cork, and may be expected to move north. 



T' 

156 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Killaloe is believed to be defended by about a division. 
The inhabitants east of the Shannon are friendly to Blue. 
3. The sea on the west coast of Ireland is supposed to 
be country like that south of the Balkans. All other 
towns, physical features, railways, telegraph lines, &c., are 
to be taken as they actually exist in Ireland, except that 
the only road over the mountains between Dublin and 
New Ross, fitted for wheeled traffic, is that leading from 
Baiting] ass to Tinahely. All other existing roads over 
these mountains are supposed to be tracks for about five 
miles on each side of the crest, and it would take at least 
thirty-six hours' hard work to make any one of these fit 
for field-guns. It is known that Red has captured a 
small amount of rolling stock, and that the railway 
from Banagher to Portarlington can easily be repaired. 
All other railways in the area occupied by Red are 
partially destroyed and will take several days to repair. 
The railways at Wicklow and Arklow are supposed to nm 
in a north-easterly direction, some 180 miles to the Blue 
capital. Both the Red and Blue armies are organised in 
divisions similar to those described in our War Establish- 
ments. 

The first paragraph of the general idea gives such 
general information about the Red army as it is likely that 
both sides would possess in real war, and which each side 
would know that the other was probably aware of. The 
strength of the Red force marching east from Banagher 
is not given, because Blue would be unlikely to know 
how many Red divisions had actually crossed the Shannon 
and how many had actually moved north and south, though 
some information, such as is given, would have been 
obtained from the inhabitants and from cavalry patrols. 

The second paragraph contains general information 
about the Blue army. It is unnecessary, for the purposes 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 157 

of the Staff* Ride, which is only concerned with the opera- 
tions of the detachment sent to capture the Hackerstown 
Pass, to give any reasons why the opposing armies are in 
this position ; any information on this subject can be 
obtained by a study of the campaign. If a campaign is 
selected which is not well known by the officers taking part 
in the Staff* Ride, it is desirable to issue a brief summary 
of the operations, together with a map showing all the 
places named in the summary. This paper could be 
issued some time before the Staffs Ride is held, and should 
merely contain a diary of events from day to day. The 
diary should bring the narrative of the operations to with- 
in about two days of the commencement of the Staffs Ride, 
and should then cease; otherwise the officers might assume 
that the subsequent events in the Staff* Ride would follow 
the same course as in the real campaign, which is undesir- 
able. It should be stated whether the inhabitants are 
friendly towards Red or Blue, because one side will thus 
gain bc^tter information than the other as to the localities 
held by hostile troops, though information from natives as 
regards the strength of the enemy is usually misleading. 

Paragraph 3 demands the exercise of some imagina- 
tion on the part of the officers. It is somewhat difficult 
to supj>ose that the sea is turned into dry land, but as no 
troops will be required to move over the sea during the 
Staff* Ride, the assumption is not so bad as it appears at 
first. There will always be a weak point of this nature 
in any situation which is transferred from a theatre of war 
on the continent of Europe, in America, &c., to a small 
country like England or Ireland, where there is no place 
more than seventy or eighty miles from the coast-line. 
When the Staff* Ride is held in larger countries like India, 
South Africa, Canada, or Australia, this difficulty some- 
times disappears. 

In the particular example under discussion it ^s necessary 



158 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

to imagine that the land continues east of Wicklow, 
because otherwise the Red detachment after crossing the 
Wicklow mountains would have its outer flank protected 
by the sea. The nature of the operation is such that the 
officer commanding this detachment must advance straight 
along the shortest road to the Hackerstown Pass, and 
would only patrol towards Wicklow and Arklow, If it 
was desired to practise the operations of General Gourko 
after the Shipka Pass had been occupied by the Russians, 
then it would be better to twist the operation sketch com- 
pletely round, so that the western slopes of the Wicklow 
mountains represented the southern slopes of the Balkans. 
In this case the operations would take place over ground 
sufficiently far from the summit of the Wicklow range to 
prohibit the assumption of the sea being dry land, because 
troops would be required to move over it. The transfor- 
mation of the roads into mountain tracks will have the 
effect of delaying the advance of the Red detachment ; this 
must be allowed for by the umpires during the Staffs Ride. 

The oi-ganisation of the opposing forces should be the 
same as that of the British Army at war strength, either in 
England, India, or the Colonies, according to the locality 
of the Staff* Ride. This gives officers opportunities of 
familiarising themselves with the administrative portion of 
the field army, such as communications, the supply of food 
and ammunition, wastage of war in men and material, care 
and disposal of sick and wounded, postal, police, and other 
services, together with the organisation and defence of bases 
and lines of conmiunication, civilian labour and transport. 

The special ideas will complete the story for each side. 
The Red and Blue forces must be placed on the Irish map 
in the most suitable position for the connnencement of the 
operations on the Staff* Ride. This involves a decision as 
to where the officers are to stay, so that they will be near 
their work. The best headquarters for the Blue side, who 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY 159 

will be defending the passes of the Wicklow mountains, 
would be at Rathdruin. It is doubtful, however, whether 
suitable accommodation could be found there. Failing 
this, Wicklow would be suitable, using the railway as far as 
Rathdrum, and then bicycles, or employing motor-cars, 
though it is probable that the country roads in these hills 
are not very suitable for motors, or even for bicycles. 

There is no reason why a camp should not be formed 
for the officers on each side, if the Staff Ride is held in 
the summer ; this adds to the realism of the work, but 
also to the expense of the exercise. It is rare that the 
scheme, the ground, and the accommodation for officei's 
can be made to fit in, and frequently the scheme suffers 
from a lack of local accommodation, which is undesirable. 
The amount of transport required to convey the tents, 
luggage, and food of a party of eight or nine officers is not 
very large, and as Dublin and the Curragh are so close at 
hand, it is possible that the transport could be obtained 
without any charge against the public. There is little 
doubt that a Staff Ride conducted from a camp is the 
most efficient method of any. 

For the special idea. Red, it will be necessary to com- 
mence with a general statement regarding the plan of 
operations, then detail the strength of the detachment 
that is to be sent to capture the Hackerstown Pass, and 
finally prepare instructions for the officer commanding 
that detachment. The idea might take the following 
form : 

Special Idea, Red. 

1. On July 12 the left wing of the army, consisting 
of four divisions and two cavalry brigades, is moving 
north towards Cavan, and has reached the line MuUingar- 
Ballymahon. Two divisions and one cavalry brigade, 
forming the right wing of the army, are marching 



160 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

against a Blue force which is occupying an entrenched 
position on the left bank of the Shannon covering Killaloe. 
After defeating this Blue force the right wing is to occupy 
Thurles and guard the right flank of the army. 

2. The 1st and 2nd divisions and the 9th cavalry bri- 
gade under General Ex are marching from Banagher on 
Kildare, and will be followed by the remaining five divi- 
sions of the army, which are about to commence the 
passage of the Shannon at Banagher. 

3. The 1st division and the 9th cavalry brigade reach 
Kildare and the 2nd division Portarlington on the evening 
of July 12. 

4. At 4 P.M. on 12th General Ex receives information 
from army headquarters that the Hackerstown Pass is held 
and strongly entrenched by Blue troops ; this information 
is confirmed by reports from his own patrols. 

5. He decides to endeavour to turn the pass by one of 
the mountain tracks with a portion of his force, and make 
a simultaneous attack u})on it from the e€ist and the west. 

6. Sufficient rolling stock has been captured to for- 
ward supplies for General Ex'*s force by the railway from 
Banagher to Portarlington, which has been repaired as far 
as the latter place. Other railways in the area occupied 
by Red have been temporarily damaged. 

This special idea is taken entirely from the history of 
the campaign, with a few alterations and modifications, 
especially as regards numbers. General Ex is given a free 
hand to turn the pass either on the south or the north, 
though he is unlikely to adopt the former course, as it 
would dangerously expose his line of communications 
through Portarlington ; it would be a longer way round, 
and it is probable that his intention would be discovered 
and frustrated. 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY l6l 

The officers on the Red side would be asked to appre- 
ciate the situation some days before the Staff Ride com- 
menced, and when the command er"'s plan of operations is 
handed in, the troops can be placed in the position dis- 
closed by his intentions, say on the evening of 13th or 
14 th, whichever date appeared most suitable, the opera- 
tions commencing from that day. During the Staff Ride, 
the officer detailed to command would be given the de- 
tachment sent by General Ex to turn the pass on the east. 

So little is known of the exact distribution of the 
Turkish forces in the Balkans that the special idea, Blue, 
must to some extent be invented. The following is sug- 
gested as a suitable scheme : 

Special Idea, Blue. 

1. On July 12 the Blue army is distributed as follows : 
Four divisions and two cavalry brigades at Cavan. 

A force consisting of two divisions and a cavalry brigade 
is expected to arrive from the east to assist in the defence 
of the Wicklow mountains in about a fortnight. 

One infantry division is occupying an entrenched 
position on the left bank of the Shannon covering 
Killaloe. 

Three infantry divisions and one cavalry brigade are 
expected to arrive at Thurles from Cork about July 20. 

2. The Blue force defending the Wicklow mountains is 
distributed as follows : 

Force under General Wye. 

8rd cavalry brigade. One regiment at Stepaside, one 
regiment at Coolkenna Street, remainder Rathdrum. 

6th division. 13th brigade and one field artillery 
brigade on the east side of the pass east of Blessington. 

14th brigade and one field artillery brigade at Laragh. 

Remainder of the division at Rathdrum. 



162 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The 18th brigade of the 6th division and one field artil- 
lery brigade holding an entrenched position facing west on 
the Hackerstown Pass. 

Force under General Zed. 

4th cavalry brigade. One regiment at New Ross, re- 
mainder at Newtown Barry. 

6th division. 16th brigade and one field artillery 
brigade at Kiltealy, remainder (except troops detached to 
General Wye) at Enniscorthy. 

3. Generals Wye and Zed are independent commanders, 
and each receive instructions direct from army head- 
quarters at the Blue capital. These instructions are 
somewhat vague : General Wye is ordered to hold the 
Wicklow mountains from Stepaside to Coolkenna Street, 
both inclusive, and General Zed to continue the defence as 
far south as New Ross inclusive, until the arrival of the 
reinforcements from the east. It is not apparent that 
either commander can rely on the other for assistance if 
attacked. 

4. General Wye^s force receives supplies from the 
capital by rail through Wicklow to Rathdrum ; General 
Zed is supplied in the same manner through Arklow to 
Enniscorthy. 

5. General Wye has just been invalided, and his suc- 
cessor (the officer commanding on the Staff Ride), who 
arrives at Rathdrum at 4 p.m. on July 12, is of course at 
liberty to make any alterations in the disposition of his 
Iroops that he considers necessary. 

6. General Wye''s outposts west of the passes have 
everywhere observed hostile patrols during July 11 and 12. 
No hostile troops have been seen by General Zed's force. 



Each officer on the Blue side would be called upon to 
write an appreciation of the situation as it appears to the 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY l68 

officer detailed to succeed General Wye at 4 p.m. on 12th. 
When the plan decided upon by the officer detailed to 
command General Wye's force during the Staff* Ride is 
handed in, the troops can be placed in the position in- 
dicated by his intentions, say on the evening of 13th or 
14th, whichever day appears to be most suitable for the 
commencement of the Staff Bide. See also the note to 
the same effect regarding the Red side. If the 13th is 
chosen for the Red, then the same date must of course be 
selected for Blue. The plans of each commander must be 
studied together, and a date selected which is likely to 
bring the opposing forces in contact during the period of 
the Staff Ride. 

The officer commanding on the Blue side, knowing the 
plan adopted by General Gourko, will anticipate that an 
attempt will be made to turn the Hackerstown Pass by 
Red ; but this fact would be equally apparent to him in 
real war, and in any case he would be unaware of the 
exact point where the attempt would be made. 

Paragraph 1 of the special idea. Blue, dealing with the 
larger forces in the theatre of war, is taken from the actual 
events of the campaign, the numbers being approximate 
to those of the Turkish forces; all iiTegular troops, 
mounted and otherwise, being taken as regulars. 

Paragraph 2 contains detailed information regarding 
the exact position of all the troops available for the opera- 
tions on the Blue side. It is important that this should 
be given, because it enables the Blue commander and his 
staff to work out all the problems of time and space, and 
arrive at sound conclusions as to where it is possible to 
move his troops or to concentrate before finally deciding 
upon his plan of action. 

Attention is invited to this matter, because the distribu- 
tion of the troops is not always given in a scheme of this 
nature, and consequently the commander on a Staff Ride 



164 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

must either work more in the dark than he would in real 
war, or else he assumes positions which are favourable to 
his plan and will simplify his task, but which will certainly 
impair the intei'est and value of the scheme. 

Though the troops are not placed in the exact positions 
occupied by the Turks, their general scheme of defence, 
which involved the definite occupation of the passes, is 
adopted. 

Paragraph 3 contains the instructions received by the 
Blue commander. These instructions are very vague, but 
as similar ambiguity is frequently encountered in war, it 
is desirable to practise it in peace. 

Generals Wye and Zed are made independent of each 
other, because otherwise, when the Staff Ride commences. 
General Wye will at once call upon General Zed for rein- 
forcements or assistance. This independence of command 
is unsound from a military point of view, but it is con- 
stantly met with in war. It gives General Wye's staff some 
extra work in keeping General Zed informed of the pro- 
gress of the operations, and General Wye can still request 
General Zed to assist him, or arrange combined operations. 
During the Staff Ride General Zed will be represented by 
the assistant director on the Blue side, and he should take 
care to give General Wye, from time to time, all necessary 
information regarding the situation in front of General 
Zed, and any movement he is supposed to make. Some 
of this information is contained in paragra])h 6 of the 
special idea. Blue. 

Paragraph 4. — The method of supplying troops, either 
by rail, road, water, &c., or by a combination of any of 
them, should always be clearly stated in the scheme. It 
is unnecessary to give the locality of the capital, because 
it has nothing to do with the strategy of the operations. 
To carry out the historical parallel the capital, Constanti- 
nople, should be about Carlisle, but as the Irish sea inter- 



SCHEMES TAKEN FROM HISTORY l65 

venes between the Wicklow mountains and that town, it 
is better to say nothing about it. 

Paragraph 5. — It is advisable to get rid of General Wye, 
because it may be presumed that he acquiesced in the 
dispersion of the troops under his command, and it is 
desirable that the Blue commander should have a free 
hand in disposing his troops according to his own ideas, 
so far as time will permit ; but the directing staff' should 
not allow any proposed movements to be made more 
rapidly than could be done in war. 

Paragraph 6 contains the only recent information which 
the Blue commander would be likely to receive. In some 
cases the corps or division to which the hostile patrols 
belong may be given, but as descriptive numbers of the 
Red divisions have not been given in the general idea, 
it is useless to insert such information in this scheme. 

It will be necessary to work out the details of the 
scheme and ascertain whether suitable instruction can be 
imparted to the officers on each side during the progress 
of the exercise. This can be done in the manner suggested 
for the imaginary scheme already described in Chapter V. 

The scheme should also be worked out by two staff* 
officers before it is issued, and the ground visited to ascer- 
tain that it is suitable for the purpose required. 

The dates given in the general and special ideas having 
worked out in a satisfactory manner, they can now be 
changed ip suit the dates selected for the Staff* Ride. Thus 
July 12 becomes February 14, and all dates mentioned in 
the scheme must be altered accordingly. 



CHAPTER VIII 

METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 

Combined Training contains a list of all matters which 
require attention by the director and his assistants during 
a Staff Ride. If these instructions were properly carried 
out, the Staff* Ride would go without a hitch. Some- 
times, however, the directing staff' do not realise the 
importance of some small point, neglect it, and then find 
that something has gone wrong. 

It is advisable, therefore, to explain the reasons for each 
detail laid down in Combined Training, and point out the 
difficulties which ordinarily arise in the management of a 
Staff* Ride, and how they can be overcome. 

The work of the directing staffs before the Staff* Ride 
commences includes the following details : 

(a) The preparation of the scheme, selection of ground, 
and accommodation of the officers. These must all go 
hand in hand. If a camp can be formed, the question of 
accommodation can be neglected, and the ground and 
scheme alone must be made to fit in with each other. 

(6) Means of taking the officers on to the ground for 
work and bringing them back in the afternoon. 

(c) The appointment of directors, assistant director's, 
and, if necessary, their staff*. The selection of the com- 
manders and staff* officers to take part in the exercise. 

(d) The issue of the general and special ideas and maps, 
with directions for the commandei*s to forward an appre- 
ciation of the situation some days before the Staff* Ride 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE l67 

commences. If other officers are required to prepare an 
appreciation of the situation, their papers, as a rule, should 
also be handed in before the Staff Ride commences. 

(e) The issue of orders regarding the place and hour of 
assembly ; the dress to be worn ; whether bicycles are to 
be taken; arrangements that have been made regarding 
accommodation ; the adjustment of travelling claims ; and 
a list of books, stationery, &c., that each officer should 
take with him. 

(f) Any special instructions that it is considered 
desirable to issue to the assistant directors as to the 
method of conducting the Staff Ride, such as distribution 
of the directing staff', authority for hiring sitting-rooms, 
method and hours of communication between the director 
and the assistant directors, or between the commander on 
each side and any detached commander, method of pre- 
paring the daily narrative, system of examining and com- 
menting upon the work done by the officers, and whether 
the assistant directors are to forward this work for inspec- 
tion by the director after it has been dealt with at the 
evening conference. 

We will suppose, as an example, that it has been 
decided to hold a Staff Ride near Tipperary, that the 
scheme described in Chapter V. has been prepared, that it 
has been ascertained that suitable acconnnodation exists 
for the officers on the Blue side at Tipperary, and those on 
the Red side at Caher or Mitchelstown, and that a limited 
number of motor-cars have been obtained to take officers on 
to the ground each day. ITie following orders could then 
be issued : 

Ninth Division Staff Ridk. 
June 15 to 19. 
Insteuctions to Officers, Red. 
1. The general idea and special idea. Red, are forwarded 



168 STAFJ? RIDES AND UEGIMENTAL TOURS 

herewith, together with the necessary maps, which latter 
will be returned at the conclusion of the Staff Ride. 

2. All officers are required to write an appreciation of 
the situation from the point of view of the officer com- 
manding the Red force which is detached towards Caher. 
These appreciations will be forwarded direct to the head- 
quarters, 8th division, by June 10. 

3. The Red side will be composed as follows : 

G.O.C. Red detached force . A Brigadier-General. 

Staff Officer, General Staff . A Brigade Major. 

D.A.A. and Q.M.G. . . A Brigade Major. 

Commanding Cavalry Brigade A Cavalry Oflficer. 

Commanding 8th Division . A Colonel. 

Staff Officer .... A Staff College Officer. 

Commanding Artillery . . An Artillery Officer. 

4. The officers will assemble at the Hotel, 

Caher, at 5 p.m. on June 15, and report to the assistant 
director. Red. Officers will bring with them a copy of 
Combined Training and of Infantry, Artillery, or Cavalry 
Training, accoi-ding to the arm to which they belong, also 
note-books and materials for making a rough sketch or 
enlargement of a map. 

5. One motor will be provided for the G.O.C. Red 
force and staff, and one motor to take the remaining 
officers on to the ground each day for reconnaissance work. 
ITie assistant director. Red, will issue a time-table each 
evening, showing the movements of the last named motor. 

6. Officers will wear uniform (or plain clothes) ; mess 
dress will not be taken. Bicycles can be taken by those 
officers who possess them, and will probably be found con- 
venient, as they will then be independent of the motor. 

7. Accommodation has been arranged at the Hotel, 

Caher, for all officers at an inclusive charge of ll.y. a 
day. A sitting-room will be provided for the officers to 
work in, and for the conferences. 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 1(>1) 

8. The Staff Ride will conclude at 2 p.m. (or to suit 
convenient trains) on June 18. 

9. Travelling claims, including the usual allowances, 
will be sent in at the termination of the Staff* Ride. 

10. The diary of work during the Staff Ride is 
attached. 

Similar instructions would be issued to the officers on the 
Blue side, who could assemble at Tipperary. 

It is assumed that there is a brigadier-general acting as 
assistant director with each force ; that the director, who 
would be the major-general commanding the division, 
takes the officers on the Red side to carry out a tactical 
exercise on the ground on 17th, and the officers of the 
Blue force to do a similar exercise on 18th, and the 
officers of both sides on 19th. Officers get tired of con- 
tinual reconnaissance work, and these tactical exercises on 
the ground when properly conducted are highly instructive. 
Suggestions for carrying out such exercises arc contained 
in Chapter XVIII. The colonel, general staff', would 
probably assist the director. 

The following commanders and staff* officers are avail- 
able in a division to take part in the Staff* Ride : One 
major-general, four brigadier-generals, one colonel, general 
staffi one D.A.A. and Q.M.G., three brigade majors, one 
staff* captain R.A., one O.C, R.E., and one O.C, A.S.C. 

So far employment has been found for all except one 
brigadier, one D.A.A. and Q.M.G., one brigade major, 
one R.E., and one A.S.C. officer, and one staff' captain 
R.A. TTiese, with a cavalry officer and one or two 
specially selected officers, would be employed with the Blue 
force. If it is thought necessary, an artillery officer can be 
attached to the staff* of the director and of each of the 
assistant directors. ITiey can help with the work, and 
they will learn a good deal It is also desirable to attach 



170 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

a medical officer and a supply officer to the staff* of the 
director, to assist him when criticising technical details. 
The following diary of work will give an idea of what is 
required : 

Ninth Division Staff Ride. 

June 15 to 19. 

Diary of Work, Red. 

June 16. — Officers assemble at 6 p.m. The Red com- 
mander will issue orders for any movements on June 16, 
and will then prepare his written instructions for such re- 
connaissance work as he requires each officer on the Red 
side to perform on 16th. The detail of work to be done 
during the evening by the remainder of the officers will be 
issued by the assistant director at 5 p.m. A conference on 
the appreciations previously handed in will be held at 9 p.m. 

After the conference the Red commander will issue to 
each officer his instructions for the reconnaissance work 
on 16th. 

June 16. — The officers will proceed to the ground and 
execute their reconnaissances," returning to the hotel by 
5 p.m., when all work must be banded in to the assistant 
director. The narrative of events during the day up to 
5 p.m. will be issued by the assistant director to all officers 
at that hour, together with the detail of work to be done 
during the evening. This work will be handed in to the 
assistant director at the commencement of the evening 
conference at 9.30 p.m. The G.O.C. Red force will return 
to the hotel at 3.30 p.m. each day, when the assistant 
director will hand him the 6 p.m. narrative to enable him 
to get his orders ready for issue to the other officers when 
they come in at 6 p.m., and thus obviate a long delay. 

Dinner will be at 7.30 p.m. A conference dealing with 
the orders, &c., written on the evening of 15th, and with 
the reconnaissance work done during the 16th, will be held 
by the assistant director at 9.30 p.m. No instructions for 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 171 

reconnaissance will be issued, because on 17th the director 
will conduct a tactical exercise on the ground with the 
officers of the Red force, who will be ordered to meet the 
director at at 10 a.m. on 17th (or any convenient hour). 

June 17. — Officers will return to their hotel by 6 p.m., 
when the narrative of events up to that hour and the 
detail of work to be done during the evening will be issued 
by the assistant director. A conference will be held at 
9.30 P.M. by the assistant director, dealing with the work 
done on the evening of the 16th. The director will then 
discuss with the officers the most important tactical points 
which were dealt with during the tactical exercise on the 
ground. All work done during the evening will be handed 
to the assistant director before the conference. Instruc- 
tions for reconnaissance work on 18th will have been pre- 
viously prepared by the assistant director or the G.O.C. 
Red force, and will be issued to all officers at the close' of 
the conference. 

June 18. — The officers will carry out their reconnais- 
sance work on the ground and hand it in to the assistant 
director at 6 p.m., when the narrative of events up to that 
hour will be issued, together with the detail of the work 
for the evening. A conference will be held by the assis- 
tant director at 9.30 p.m., dealing with the work done on 
the evening of the 17th and with the reconnaissance work 
on the 18th. All work done during the evening will be 
handed to the assistant director before the conference. 

Officers will be ordered to meet the director at at 

10 A.M. on 19th to carry out a tactical exercise on the 
ground, together with the officers on the Blue side 
Officers will be able to leave Tip{)erary by the — p.m. 
train on 19th. 

The above is only intended as a general guide. Local 
circumstances and the nature of the scheme would no doubt 



172 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

necessitate some alterations, but all details regarding the 
issue of the narrative, instructions for the work each even- 
ing, and written instructions for reconnaissance next day 
should be rigidly adhered to. It is most important that 
everything should be done methodically, otherwise delays 
occur, officers will be left with nothing to do, and will get 
bored in consequence. 

The detail of work to be done each evening should, as 
a rule, be prepared and issued by the assistant director, 
and not by the G.O.C. Red force, who has plenty of 
other work to do. 

Chapter XI. contains a list of different types of work 
which are suitable for the evening, and which do not 
require very careful reconnaissance of ground beforehand. 
Sample copies of instructions to officers for various kinds 
of reconnaissance work on the ground are also included in 
the above mentioned chapter. 

A similar diary should be prepared for the Blue side, 
with the necessary alterations. If it is considered desirable, 
a separate diary of work can be prepai^ed and issued to the 
directing staff*. For the above-mentioned scheme this 
diary might take the following form : 

Ninth Division Staff Ride. 
June 15 to 19. 

Instiiuctions to Assistant Directous. 

1. The directing staff* will be composed of the following 
officers : 

Director .... The Major- General commanding. 

Staff Officer .... The Colonel, General Staff. 

Assistant Director, Red . . A Brigadier-General. 

Staff Officer .... Selested regimental officer from the 

division. 

Assistant Director, Blue. . A Brigadier-General. 

Staff Officer . . . . As for Red. 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 178 

2. The general and special idea, Red, is forwarded 
herewith to the assistant director, lied, and the general 
and special idea, Blue, is forwarded to the assistant director, 
Blue. Each will appreciate the situation, and will meet 
the director at 10 a.m. on June 1, when the scheme will 
be worked out on the map. The director will then discuss 
the strategical and tactical points raised during the 
process, and by that means sound rulings can be arrived 
at as to the line to be taken when, later on, the work 
of the officers has to be dealt with. This will avoid 
any clashing of views between the director and the 
assistant directors. 

3. During the Staff Ride assistant directors will 
obtain from the commander of their side a copy of his 
orders for the next day''s operations, as soon as he has 
prepared them. This copy should be sent to the director 
so as to reach him before 9 a.m. on the following day, or 
on the same evening if possible, to enable him to prepare 
the narrative which has to be issued at 5 p.m. on the 
following day. If there is any doubt as to these orders 
reaching the director in time, a summary of the intentions 
of each commander, and of the proposed movements, should 
be telegraphed to the director. 

4. If either commander desires to carry out any night 
operations, the fact must be telegraphed to the director at 
once. The director will then ascertain the intentions of 
the other commander, and will telegraph a brief narrative 
giving the results of these night operations. This narra- 
tive, if it arrives in time, may be issued to the commander 
the same night, after the evening conference, and when 
all the oi-ders for the night operations have been handed 
in. If it is impossible to send this narrative so early, it 
will be sent so as to reach the assistant director early on 
the moniing following the night operations. The assis- 
tant director will then issue this narrative to the officers 



174 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

before they go out on the ground, and the necessary 
orders for the day''s operations must at once be prepared 
by the commander, and telegraphed to the director, so 
that the latter may prepare the usual narrative which is 
issued at 5 p.m. daily. 

6. Night operations on a Staff Ride are not very 
instructive ; commanders are inclined to move troops with 
a celerity and audacity which is not found in war, and 
consequently they should, as a rule, be discouraged. It is, 
however, frequently necessary to move troops at night 
from one part of a battle-field to another, to withdraw 
after a severe engagement, to get into position for an 
attack at dawn, or for some similar reason. When the 
situation demands such a move, and the commander 
desires it, the procedure mentioned in paragraph 4 should 
be followed. 

6. The director will remain with the Blue side and attend 
the conferences on that side during June 15 and 16. 

He will conduct a tactical exercise on the ground with 
the officers on the Red side, and attend the conference on 
that side on 17th. He will conduct a similar exercise 
with the officers on the Blue side on 18th, being present 
at the evening conference. On 19th he will meet all the 
officers, and, after studying the final situation on the 
ground, will discuss any strategical and tactical points 
which may be brought forward by the assistant directors, 
or the officers taking part in the Ride, and endeavour to 
indicate the principles contained in the authorised books 
on training which apply to such matters. 

7. All work done by the commander on each side will 
be forwarded as early as possible to the director, who will 
examine and criticise it, and then return it to the officer 
concerned. All work done by the remainder of the 
officers will be examined and criticised by the assistant 
directors, and returned each day to the officers just before 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 175 

the evening conference. It is most important that the 
work done on the previous evening and during the day 
should be discussed at the conference lield each night. 

8. The instructions for reconnaissance on the ground 
can, if desired, be prepared by the commanders, and issued 
to the officers after being seen by the assistant directors. 
The latter should, if necessary, assist the commanders in 
preparing these instructions, because it is very important 
that the officers who are sent out to work on the ground 
should have sufficient information regarding the intention 
of the commander to enable them to fully gi*asp the 
situation and work with the one object in view, and not 
on generalities. 

Five P.M. is a good hour to commence the Staff* Ride ; it 
gives officers plenty of time to reach the place of assembly 
and get comfortably settled before the work commences. 
If the Staff* Ride begins in the morning, officers must cither 
assemble the night before and find nothing for them to 
do, or else they arrive too late on the ground to complete 
a fair day's work. On active service staff* officers will be 
called upon to carry out a reconnaissance at any hour of 
the day, but for instructional purposes, and when the 
work has to be carefully studied and commented upon by 
the directing staff*, ample time for both should be allowed. 

It is convenient sometimes to allow an interval of 
time to elapse between the date of the situation which is 
to be appreciated by the conmianders and the date of 
assembly for the Staff* Ride, the movements in the interim 
being made by the director in conformity with the plans 
of the commanders. In a strategical situation the main 
solution of the problem is dealt with when the opposing 
forces are some distance apart. The commander on each 
side must at least decide before he moves his force the 
direction he will take. TTiis decision in real war will be 



176 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

arrived at, not as a rule by inspecting the ground, but by 
reading intdligence reports on the theatre of war and by 
a careful study of the map. This can be done satisfac- 
torily in quarter, before the commencement of the Staff 
Ride, and will enable the whole period during the Staff 
Ride to be devoted to a study of the ground. 

When the scheme for a Staff Ride deals with operations 
at the commencement of a campaign, or when the opposing 
forces are a long way apart, it is necessary to adopt this 
method, and to issue the general and special ideas about a 
fortnight before the date fixed for the Staff Ride. 

The scheme will give the position of the troops, and 
the information available, on a date anterior to the com- 
mencement of the Ride. The officers will appreciate this 
situation and forward their work to the director four or 
five days before the date of assembly for the Ride. 
The director will then compare the intentions of the 
opposing commanders, move the troops on the map in 
accordance with those intentions, and decide upon the 
position which is reached by each force at 5 p.m. on the 
date when the Staff Ride commences. He will then pre- 
pare a narrative desci'ibing the events which have occurred 
in the interim. 

This system of moving the troops introduces complica- 
tions, and is open to some objections, but as- it has been 
so frequently adopted, it is as well to explain it more fully 
and endeavour to remove any serious drawbacks. 

The date when the scheme is issued should not be con- 
fused with the date of the commencement of the opera- 
tions or that fixed for the StaflF Ride. To avoid this 
confusion it is best to take a definite example. We will 
suppose that in the original scheme which is to be issued 
to the officers the date of the situation is May 10. On 
this date we will assume that the opposing forces are four- 
teen days' march apart, and if they both advance towards 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 177 

each other they will meet in seven days. Or perhaps one 
force may be halted and the other advancing, in which 
case they would meet in fourteen days. 

We will suppose, further, that the director has fixed the 
date of the Staff* Ride at 5 p.m. on May 17, and he wishes 
the cavalry patrols on each side to be in touch with each 
other at that hovir. He will then work backwards to the 
place where the troops are first located in the scheme, and 
calculate the number of days that should elapse to allow 
the necessary movements to be made. This will fix the 
date of the situation given in the scheme. Assuming that 
it will take seven days for these movements to be made, 
the last-mentioned date will be 5 p.m. on May 10, and 
the scheme should be prepared accordingly. 

There is no occasion for the director to actually issue 
the general and special ideas on May 10; it would be 
better to send them to the officers about May 3, and they 
will then have plenty of time to study the situation, and 
can i-etum their work to the director by May 12. This 
will give five days to look over the work. 

The director having compared the intentions of the 
opposing commanders, will move the troops on the map 
from 5 P.M. on 10th to 5 p.m. on 17th. He will then 
write a naiTative describing the new situation on the latter 
date, and relating the events that have occurred, and the 
information each commander would have obtained, since 
5 P.M. on 10th May. This narrative is issued to the 
officers when they assemble at 5 p.m. on May 17. 

The chief reason why this method is so often adopted 
is because the schemes for Staff* Rides in the past have so 
frequently dealt with the commencement of the campaign 
instead of the middle of it. It has already been pointed 
out in Chapter III, that detachments at the commence- 
ment of a campaign are open to serious strategical objec- 
tions, and that it is better to select a later period nnVvvcv 



178 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

detachments are often necessary. Another and better 
reason for adopting the above method is that the com- 
manders on each side are given a freer hand and more 
scope for practice in strategy ; and a still better reason is 
that if the opposing forces are in touch at the commence- 
ment of the Staff Ride, there is no strategical work for 
the cavalry to do. 

It would appear, therefore, that the best situation to 
produce at 5 p.m. on the first day is for the cavalry 
patrols on each side to be in touch with each other, and 
for the opposing forces to be about four days' march apart. 
There is, however, a drawback to this arrangement, 
because it is undesirable for a Staff Ride to last more than 
three or four working days. If the cavalry patrols are to 
be in touch on the evening of the first day, the opposing 
forces must naturally be at least six days' march apart, 
because the main body of the cavalry will probably be ten 
miles behind the patrols of the advanced squadrons, and 
the main infantry force on each side will probably be two 
days' march behind the cavalry. This would mean that 
the main forces would not be in contact till the evening 
of the fourth day of the Staff Ride. 

The fact is that the strategical action of the cavalry 
cannot be practised at the same time as the tactical 
operations of the main opposing forces, and as we want to 
practise tactics more than strategy in a divisional Staff 
Ride, it is better to omit the strategical action of the 
cavalry, or deal with it on paper in the manner suggested 
above before the Staff Ride commences. 

For instance, with the dates given above the opposing 
cavah-y on 18th and 19th would be operating against 
each other, and on the evening of 20th they would have 
to draw off to a flank, because the opposing infantry would 
be in touch. It would be better, therefore, to commence 
a cavalry Staff* Ride at 5 p.m. on 17th and conclude it on 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 179 

20th, but to commence a divisional StaflFRide at 5 p.m. on 
19th and close it at mid -day on 23rd. 

For a divisional Staff Ride, therefore, the strategical 
plans of the opposing commanders, and the strategical 
action of the cavalry, can be dealt with on paper, and the 
Staff Ride can commence at 5 p.m. on 19th, the narrative 
being brought up to that date. This would enable 
officers to reconnoitre ground on 20th for the action of the 
main body on 21st, and several instructive tactical situa- 
tions would be produced during 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. 

It will be observed that the schemes worked out in 
Chapters V. and VII. commence when the opposing infantry 
are comparatively close to each other, and that there is 
little scope for the strategical action of cavalry, as regards 
the preliminary operations, though there is plenty of work 
for the cavalry to do whilst the infantry are manoeuvring 
and fighting. 

The duties of an assistant director during a Staff Ride 
can now be summarised. 

The work on the first evening will depend on three 
alternatives : 

(a) If the scheme is issued for the first time when the 
officers assemble. 

(6) If it has been issued previously and with reference 
to a date anterior to that of the commencement of the 
Staff Ride, and the troops have subsequently been moved 
by the director in accordance with the intentions of the 
opposing commanders, and a new narrative up to 5 p.m. 
has been prepared. 

(c) If it has been issued previously and prepared with 
reference to the exact date of the commencement of the 
StaflF Ride. 

Of these (6) or {c) is better than (a), as already pointed 
out. 

Ill the first case the assistant director will issue tkii 



180 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

detail of work to be^ione during the evening by all officers, 
including the commander. The officers will then be busy 
all the evening writing appreciations of the situation, 
preparing orders, &c. There will be no conference, because 
no work will have been handed in. 

In the second case (b) the assistant director will issue at 
5 P.M. the narrative of events up to that hour, together 
with the detail of work to be done during the evening. A 
conference on the appreciations and ordei*s previously 
handed in will be held at 9 p.m. 

In the third case (c) there will be no narrative to issue, 
because the situation originally given in the general and 
special ideas was dated 5 p.m. on the first evening of the 
Staff Ride. There will be no work for the officers to do as 
regards appreciations and orders, because these will have 
been written previously, and will form the subject for the 
evening conference. The assistant director, therefore, should 
select other work for the officers to do during the evening, 
having regard to the military requirements of the situation. 
Suggestions for suitable problems will be found in Chapter 
XI. The narrative to be issued at 5 p.m. on the following 
(lay will have been prepared already by the director. 

In the first and second cases the assistant director must 
obtain copies of the orders of the connnander, and send or 
telegraph them to the director as soon as possible. If the 
commander intends to carry out any night operations, the 
assistant director will at once wire all necessary details to 
the director as early as possible. 

In the second and third cases, as all the work regarding 
appreciations and oixiers will have been forwarded to the 
director some days before the Staff Ride commences, the 
assistant director will have received and criticised it, and 
extracted notes for the evening conference. 

In either cases (a), (6), or (r) the written instructions for 
reconnaissance work on the following day must be prepared 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 181 
by the commander, or by the assistant director, and issued 
to the officers after the evening conference, or when the 
evening's work is completed. 

Work on the Second Day, 

Before going on to the ground the assistant director 
should look over about half the work done on the previous 
evening, criticise it, and extract notes for the conference 
in the evening. He should then visit all the ground 
where the officers are reconnoitring, or, if that is impossible, 
at least the most important areas should be examined. 
Reconnaissance work cannot be adequately criticised unless 
the ground has been carefully studied from the point of 
view of the particular task in hand. 

The assistant director must return to his headquarters 
by 3 P.M. at the latest, so as to issue the narrative which 
he should find awaiting him to the commander of the 
force. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. he can prepare the detail of 
the evening work for the officers, and complete his exami- 
nation of the work done during the previous evening ; at 
5 P.M. he should issue the detail of work for the evening 
and despatch the operation orders of the commander to 
the director, to enable the latter to prepare the narrative 
for the next day. From 5 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. he should 
examine the reconnaissance work done during the day, 
extracting notes for the evening conference. If further 
reconnaissance is to be done on the third day, he must 
ensure that the written instructions for the officers are 
ready for issue after the conference. 

The assistant director's work on the third and fourth 
day is similar in all respects to that on the second day. 
It should be clearly understood that a Staff' Hide day really 
commences at 6 p.m. one day and ends at 5 p.m. the fol- 
lowing day. All work done between these hours is dealt 
with at the evening conference on the latter da^ , 



182 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

On the third or fourth day it is probable that the work 
will be varied, and instead of the officers being sent out 
individually to reconnoitre, they will be taken, either by 
the director or assistant director, to work out a series of 
tactical situations on the ground. This will cause a slight 
variation in the above summary of work. 

No instructions for reconnaissance will be prepared the 
evening before, and instead of the reconnaissance work the 
written solutions of the various problems will be handed 
in to the assistant director for criticism on return to the 
hotel. During the tactical exercise the assistant director 
should make notes of all important strategical, tactical, and 
administrative points which have arisen during the day, 
and deal with them in detail at the evening conference. 
The method of conducting these exercises is fiiUy explained 
in Chapter XVIII. 

On the last day, the fourth or fifth, whichever it may 
be, it is undesirable to do any reconnaissance work, because 
it cannot be looked over and discussed before the end of 
the Staff* Ride. It is best, therefore, for the assistant 
director on one side and for the director on the other to 
take the officers on to the ground and work out the tactical 
details of the final situation. If desired the director can 
take out the whole of the officers and study the final 
operations of one side, preferably an attack. 

In either case there should be a short conference on the 
ground before the officers disperse, when the director will 
indicate the excellence of certain plans adopted and the 
undesirability of others, and should endeavour to give 
rulings, not as to which commander has beaten the other, 
but as to the probable result of definite movements made 
and decisions arrived at by the various officers. Notes for 
this and other conferences will be found in Chapter XIII. 

On some Staff* Rides the instructions for reconnaissance 
of ground have been prepared by the assistant director 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 183 

instead of by the commander of the force. Though in 
principle it is open to objection, there is no harm in 
adopting this system. The commander naturally becomes 
absorbed in the actual operations, to which he will attach 
more importance than to the necessity for detailed recon- 
naissance of ground, which will not appeal to him on a 
Staff Ride in the same manner as in war. If this method 
is adopted, the assistant director must ascertain from the 
commander what reconnaissance work he wishes to be done, 
and may even suggest administrative and tactical problems 
which would require to be worked out on the ground in 
a similar situation in a real war. The importance of 
giving foil instructions to officers who are sent to re- 
connoitre ground is dealt with in Chapter XI. 

It is desirable that the evening work of the officers 
should be completed by the time fixed for the conference. 
The officers can then assemble for the conference knowing 
that they have no more work to do and can pay full 
attention to the discussions which take place. There is 
no object in overworking them, and if full value is to be 
obtained from the conference, it is necessary that they 
should have an opportunity of subsequently discussing 
amongst themselves the points which have been raised and 
the criticisms made by the assistant director during the 
conference. During these arguments each officer will prove 
no doubt that he was right and the instructor was wrong, 
but at the same time, if the particular criticism was sound, 
the officer will remember it, and will not repeat the error. 

The value of these post-conference discussions cannot be 
overrated. Officers learn quite as much from them as 
from the conferences themselves — in fact, the extent of the 
instruction imparted can frequently be gauged by the 
amount of discussion which takes place amongst the officers 
themselves. 

It is desirable for all officers, except the chief staff* officer 



184 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

to the commander on each side, to prepare an appreciation 
of the original situation. It makes them study the scheme 
carefully, and it gives them increased interest in the sub- 
sequent operations. Although the daily narrative is issued 
at 5 P.M., there is no reason why it should not include all 
information which would be likely to reach the commander 
on each side by a later hour, say 9 p.m. Narratives should 
be made up to a time when there is a temporary cessation 
of the main operations, which is usually in the evening, 
when the troops are seeking rest for the night. As already 
explained, if night operations are undertaken a special 
narrative must be issued to the officers before 9 a.m. the 
following day, so that every one will know what has 
happened during the night. 

It is very important that the orders of each commander 
should be forwarded to the director so as to reach him by 
9 A.M. the following day at the latest. If this is not done, 
he is unable to prepare the narrative for each side and 
despatch it in time to reach the assistant director by 3 p.m. 
The commander on each side is unable to write his ordere, 
and the work is at a standstill till the narrative arrives. 

It is desirable that the work done by the commander on 
each side should be sent to the director, who will criticise 
it and return it to the commander. One officer, though 
senior to the other, hardly cares to criticise the work of an 
officer of the same rank. All other work must be dealt 
with by the assistant director on each side. 

The summary of the duties of an assistant director on 
one side apply equally to the other side. The only differ- 
ence is that the director will always be present with one 
side, and the assistant dii'ector on that side, instead of 
telegraphing or sending the work, onlers, &c., done by the 
commander, can hand it to him. The director also will 
prolmbly hold the conference on the side which he has 
joined. 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 185 

The duties of a director have been indicated to some 
extent ah-eady. '^They may be summarised as follows, 
assuming that on the first day of the Staff Ride the 
director joins the Blue force : 

First day. — In case (c) the officers will have appreciated 
the situation which was dated 5 p.m. on the first day of the 
Ride, and will have written orders for the operations on 
the second day. The director, who has seen all this work 
before the Staff Ride commenced, will have prepared the 
narrative to be issued at 5 p.m. on the second day. The 
director therefore will merely hold the conference on 
the Blue side and deal with the above-mentioned work. 

In case (a) the officers have not seen the scheme before, 
and in case (6) they have not seen the new situation, so in 
both cases they will be busy during the evening writing 
appreciations, orders, &c. In case (a) there will be no 
conference, because no work will have been handed in, but 
in case (6) the director can hold the conference on the 
Blue side and deal with the original work which was 
handed in before the StaflF Ride commenced. 

Second day. — In case (c) the narrative to be issued at 
5 P.M. will have been prepared beforehand. 

In cases (a) and (6) the director will have seen the orders 
on the Blue side, and he will receive those of the Red 
commander before 9 a.m. The director's staff officer should 
then draw on the map the position of all the opposing 
forces, as if each commander's intentions could be carried 
out. 

It will be found probably that some parts of the 
opposing forces have met and overlapped : in that case the 
director, studying the orders of each commander, will 
decide what has happened ; he will then prepare narratives 
describing all the events that have occurred, giving the 
information which each commander would be likely to 
have obtained during the operations, and stating the exact 



186 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

distribution of each force at 5 p.m. on the second day, or 
if desired at a later hour ; but in any case the narrative 
must be issued to the officers at 5 p.m. on the second day, 
to enable them to get on with their evening work. 

Two narratives will be required, one for Red and one 
for Blue, because the information given to one commander 
and the exact position of his troops would not necessarily 
be known to the other commander. Notes on the prepara- 
tion of narratives will be found in Chapter XII. 

Having completed the narrative, the director should go 
on the ground and study it from the point of view of each 
commander, so that he will be in a position to appreciate 
their plans and orders. He should then return to his 
headquarters, and having criticised the work done on the 
previous evening by each commander, he will send it back 
in time for the evening conference. During the evening 
he can look over some of the work which has been dealt 
with by the assistant director on the Blue side, and make 
further remarks on it, or initial those made by the assis- 
tant director. It encourages officers to know that some of 
their work will be seen by the director himself. 

Third day. — ^The narratives to be issued at 5 p.m. must 
be prepared by the director before he goes on to the 
ground, and sent off to the assistant directors. To caiTy 
out the programme already suggested, the director will 
move his headquarters to the Red side ; he will meet the 
officers on that side at a certain time and place, previously 
arranged, and will conduct a tactical exercise on the 
ground. At the conclusion of the exercise the director 
will proceed to the headquarters of the Red side and hold 
the conference there in the evening. 

Fourth day. — The narratives must be prepared as above, 
and if we continue with the previously suggested pro- 
gramme the director will meet the officers on the Blue 
side and conduct a tactical exercise on the ground, as on 



METHOD OF DIRECTING A STAFF RIDE 187 

the third day. During the morning of the fifth day, 
according to the above programme, the director meets all 
the officers and studies the final situation on the ground. 

One tactical exercise on the ground is generally sufficient 
for each side, and it is more instructive to carry out an 
attack than to study a defensive position, though the latter 
is also useful. The side which is not engaged in a tactical 
exercise will be doing the ordinary reconnaissance work. 
The director would arrange his tactical exercises for each 
side according to the nature of the operations. The object 
would be to work out on one side any interesting tactical 
situation which may arise. For example, the Blue might 
be attacking on the third day, and the Red drawing off 
after an unsuccessful battle on the fourth day, in which 
case the director would have his tactical exercise with 
Blue on the third day and with Red on the fourth day. 






CHAl^ER IX 

STAFF RIDES WHEN ONLY ONE SIDE IS REPRE- 
SENTED BY A PARTY OF OFFICERS 

There is little doubt that officers take more interest in 
the strategical work when they know that the enemy is 
represented by another party of officers, but it is quite 
possible, and in some cases desirable, to hold what is 
frequently called a " single ^ Staff Ride, where only one 
side is represented by a party of officers, and where all the 
movements of the enemy are decided by the director. 

There is one pitfall to be avoided. The director is 
very apt to make the enemy do whatever is most difficult 
for the officers to deal with, and sometimes this is so 
marked that the officers get disheartened and lose interest 
in the work. It is very easy for a director, when he has 
seen the plans and orders of the officers under instruction, 
to completely defeat them by causing the enemy to adopt 
a certain course of action. The only way to overcome all 
temptation to do this is to decide beforehand the action 
which is to be taken by the enemy, and in any case of 
doubt to favour the officers rather than the enemy. 

If the officer commanding the side makes a good plan 
and carries it through with vigour and determination, he 
should be given full credit for his work, and the director 
can rule that the enemy is defeated. If, on the other 
hand, the officer commanding the side makes an indifferent 
plan and carries it out with hesitation or vacillation, the 
director can give the imaginary hostile commander credit 



SINGLE STAFF RIDES 189 

for acting in a capable manner, and can decide that he is 
successful. 

It is easy to conduct a single StaflF Ride : one director 
only is required, and, if he is assisted by a staff officer, no 
assistant directors are necessary. There is no transmission 
of plans and orders between the assistant directors and the 
directors. It is easy to prepare the narratives and keep 
everything up to date, and for these reasons it is probable 
that the actual instruction imparted to the officers is 
better during a single Staff Ride than when both sides are 
i-epresented by officers, and where the director and assis- 
tant . directors have a great deal of work in connection 
with the conduct of the operations in addition to the work 
of instruction. 

A single Staff Ride is peculiarly suited for instructing 
the officers of a comparatively small force such as an 
infantry or cavalry brigade, or the artillery of a division. 
In the case of an infantry brigade it is essential that the 
services of a major or captain of artillery should be 
obtained to command the ai-tillery : this can easily be 
ananged in most commands. Staff Rides in which the 
officers of one arm only take part are not nearly so 
instructive as when the officers of two or three arms are 
assembled and those of each are learning a good deal 
about the other. 

The method of conducting the Ride is exactly the same 
as already described in Chapter VIII., except that every- 
thing which refers to the transmission of orders, &c., 
between the director and the assistant directors can be 
omitted, because the dii-ector is on the spot and no 
assistant directors are required. The preparation of the 
scheme is also the same. A special idea should be written 
for the enemy, in spite of the fact that no officers are on 
that side. When the general and special ideas have been 
prepared the operations should be worked out b'j \.^<^ 



190 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

officers, one for the Red side and one for the Blue side. 
This will disclose any mistakes in the scheme, and will also 
give the director a line to adopt when deciding upon the 
action to be taken by the enemy. If desired, the officer 
who works out the enemy's side can continue to act for 
the enemy throughout the Staff Ride, but in that case he 
must not be shown the special idea on the other side, and 
he must be given every day a narrative of events so far as 
they would be known to him in war, and must not see the 
narrative issued to the other side. This means that he 
will be isolated from the rest of the officers during the 
Staff Ride and will have rather a dull time, and the 
director will have to prepare two narratives every day 
instead of one. At the same time, the temptation to 
make the enemy do things to checkmate the action of 
the officer commanding the other side will be removed. 

At the commencement of the Staff* Ride the officers 
should be informed either that the euemy is represented 
by another officer who is entirely independent of the 
director as regards the action taken, or that the enemy'^s 
plans have been already decided upon and will not be 
altered. They should also be told that these plans have 
already been typed and will be issued to the officers at the 
termination of the Staff Ride. This will create a feeling 
of confidence in the officers, who will know that they have 
a fair course in front of them and will only be required to 
overcome the difficulties which must arise in every operation 
of war. 

The method of preparing the scheme and conducting 
the exercise can be illustrated from the general and special 
ideas given in Chapter V., making the two opposing 
detachments somewhat smaller. The general idea can 
remain the same. Paragraph 3 of the special idea. Red, 
can be altered to read " the 24th infantry brigade, 
30th field artillery brigade, and 7th Hussars, mider the 



SINGLE STAFF RIDES 191 

General officer commanding 24th brigade,"^ and in the 
second sentence *' this brigade has been holding " can be 
altered to " this regiment has been watching.*" In para- 
graphs the detachment at Ballylanders Pass can be omitted. 

Paragraph 4 of the special idea. Blue, can be altered to 
read " the 52nd and 53rd infantry brigades, the 59th 
field artillery brigade, 101st howitzer brigade, and 51st 
field company of engineers, all of the 18th division with 
the 3rd and 4th Lancers, the whole under the general 
officer commanding the 18th division." 

The last part of paragraph 6 can be altered to read 
" the 53rd brigade was mostly in reserve." 

We will suppose that the officers are to be on the Red 
side and that the operations of the enemy are to be con- 
ducted by the director. The orders to the officer com- 
manding the Blue detachment are quite clear, so it is not 
difficult for the director to produce a series of situations 
and decide beforehand on the action of the enemy. Blue. 
The officers on the Red side could assemble at Caher at 
5 P.M. on the 15th ; they could be employed during the 
16th in reconnoitring a defensive position near Caher for 
occupation by the Red detachment, arranging outposts, 
bivouacs, reconnoitring the line of retreat on Mitchels- 
town, &c. 

The narrative issued on the evening of the 16th to the 
officers on the Red side would disclose the fact that the 
7th Hussars had lost ground during the day and that an 
attack by Blue might be expected on the 17th; vide 
Chapter XIL, Preparation of Narratives. 

On the Blue side the director can decide beforehand how 
the Blue commander will deliver his attack. For example, 
it may be laid down that a frontal attack is to be made 
along a certain extent of front, and that the main attack 
is to be delivered against the right flank of the Red 
position, wherever it may be. This of course is e. ^\xt^ 



192 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

arbitrary decision, but it is quite enough for the purposes 
of the Staff Ride, and will prevent the director from 
making the Blue attack come against what subsequent 
reconnaissance will show is the weakest part of the line or 
the part which the Red commander has not defended 
properly. 

On 17th the Red officers can be taken on to the 
position selected for the Red detachment, and a series of 
situations of the following nature can be issued for them 
to work out : 

Tactical Exercise on the Guound. 
First Situation. 

1. The position is occupied as directed in the ordei-s of 
the officer coaimanding the Red detachment. 

Note. — A copy of these orders would have been issued 
to all officers on the previous evening. 

2. At 4 A.M. on 17th an attack developed from the 
north against the front of the position, and at 5 a.m. a 
strong force, with its outer flank protected by cavalry, 
attacked the eastern flank of the position. 

3. The position of the enemy's troops, so far as they 
would be known to Red, and the exact distribution of the 
Red troops, will be given to the officers on the ground. 
One Red battalion is still in reserve in rear of the eastern 
flank of the position. 

4. The 7th Hussars have been pressed back by hostile 
cavalry to the line , and will shortly be com- 
pelled to retire still farther. 

5. It is evident that the Red detachment is being 
attacked by greatly superior numbers, and the General 
connnanding has decided to connnence a retreat to the 
Suir at Caher. 

6. As General officer commanding the Red detachment 



SINGLE STAFF RIDES 193 

state your general plan of operations and write the orders 
(verbal or otherwise) that you would issue. 



The second situation would deal with the fii^st rear-guard 
position which was taken up by Red, whilst the remainder 
of the force retired across the Suir. 

In the third situation the details of the retirement of 
the whole force, including the rear-guard, across the Suir, 
the occupation of a position on the far bank to cover the 
retirement of the rear-guard, and eventually to dispute 
the passage of the river by the enemy, would be worked out. 

The method of conducting these exercises is described 
in Chapter XVIII. 

The director, when deciding upon the movements of the 
enemy, would consider the probable course of action their 
commander would adopt in real war. He should not 
credit the enemy with knowing too much about the Red 
detachment, and consequently should not allow the enemy 
to pursue too closely. 

The most difficult operation in the above exercise would 
be to draw off from the main position held by Red, espe- 
cially if the enemy, after capturing the position, could 
command the lines of retreat with their guns. The action 
of the Red cavalry and the direction of their retreat to 
the Suir would afford an instructive subject for discussion. 

On the evening of 17th the narrative would give a 
brief account of the day's operations, and might conclude 
with some information about the enemy to indicate whether 
the Blue troops had halted on the Suir, whether they had 
foi*ced the passage and evidently meant to continue their 
offensive action, or whether it was probable that some or all 
of them had retired, just as Jackson did after the battle of 
McDowell, which somewhat resembles the above situation. 

For example, we will suppose that Red did not destroy 
the bridges over the Suir when they retired, but that about 



194. STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

4 P.M. it was discovered that the bridges had been blown 
up by Blue. This information should be sufficient to show 
the Red connnander that no further offensive action on 
the part of Blue need be anticipated. Taking into con- 
sideration the situation in front of the main Red anny, 
which would be given by the director in the narrative, the 
Red commander on the evening of 17th would have to 
decide whether to stay where he was, retire, or advance 
and attack whatever was in front of him. 

The director can arbitrarily decide what the enemy 
intends to do on 18th. For example, two Blue bat- 
talions, a battery, and a squadron can be left on the Suir 
to contain the Red force, and the remainder can march 
away to rejoin the main Blue army. If this is done the 
officers on the Red side during the 18th can be employed 
in reconnoitring the enemy's position for an attack, making 
arrangements for crossing the river, driving back the 
enemy's outposts, &c. 

On the 19th the details of the attack can be worked out 
on the ground in the form of a tactical exercise and in the 
manner suggested in Chapter XVIII. 

To summarise the above, we see that the director can 
decide, before the Staff Ride commences, the action of the 
enemy. On June 16 the Blue detachment, greatly supe- 
rior in numbers to Red, assembles somewhere north of 
Caher and prepares to attack the Red detachment. 

On June 17 Blue makes a frontal attack with part of 
his force and makes his main attack against the eastern 
flank of the Red position. The attack succeeds, and Blue 
presses back Red to the Suir. In the evening the Blue 
detached commander is ordered by the Blue Connnander- 
in-Chief to leave two battalions, one battery, and one 
squadron to contain Red on the Suir, and to rejoin the 
main army with the rest of his detachment. 

On June 18 the small Blue detachment occupies some 



SINGLE STAFF RIDES 195 

position which can be selected from the map, and which 
should not sutsequently be changed to make it more 
difficult for Red. This position is reconnoitred by Red on 
18th and attacked on lOth, which we may presume is the 
last day of the Staff Ride. 

'lliis plan, so far as the enemy is concerned, can be 
carried out, whatever the Red commander may decide to 
do. For example, suppose the Red General decides to 
retire behind the Suir at once and not fight in the position 
indicated by the first situation. The result will be that 
during 16th the Blue detachment will gain the neigh- 
bourhood of Caher and can still attack the Red detach- 
ment on 17th. If the Red commander, in spite of 
the narrative issued on 17th, again retires on 18th, it 
will be advisable for the director to send him a despatch 
from the Red Commander-in-Chief directing him to ad- 
vance and attack on 19th. In any case the original 
design selected by the director for the Blue commander 
to adopt should not be changed more than is absolutely 
necessary during the progress of the Staff Ride, and at the 
end of the Staff Ride this original design should be issued 
to the officers on the Red side, to show them that they 
have been treated perhaps more favourably than they 
would have been in real war. 

The example given above is of a very simple nature, 
which offers little strategical scope for the commander of 
the Red detachment or for the imaginary Blue commander. 
These small Staff Rides are, however, unsuited to the 
solution of great strategical problems, and it is sufficient 
to create the strategical situation and let the officers work 
it out so far as their own force only is concerned. In this 
manner the real instruction of the exercise, the study of 
ground, will be given the greatest prominence, and at the 
same time sufficient strategy will be introduced to make 
the situation real and increase the interest of the work. 



CHAPTER X 

STAFF RIDES FOR PRACTISING OPERATIONS 
AGAINST SEMI-CIVILISED OR SAVAGE RACES 

To practise operations against a semi-civilised or savage 
race, it is out of the question to attempt to represent the 
enemy by a party of officers. They would learn ho useful 
lessons, the conduct of the exercise would be very difficult, 
and impossible situations would frequently arise. 

Officers during a Staff Ride are very apt to do things 
which they would never do in war, even when they are 
dependent for food on a long column of transport or on a 
line of communications. If this drag on their actions is 
removed, and they are directed to conduct guerilla warfare, 
their imagination, which appears sometimes to be dormant 
on occasions where it is really required, will be given full 
scope, and the situations produced will be far more difficult 
than those which must be dealt with even in the real 
campaign. 

The Staff Ride, therefore, should consist of a director 
and a party of officers who represent the regular force, the 
action of the enemy being decided upon and described in the 
narratives and situations which are issued by the director 
during the progress of the exercise. 

In any form of guerilla warfare it is frequently impos- 
sible to do any reconnaissance of ground until the proposed 
operation is actually in progress. Reconnoitring officers 
can rarely leave the column, march on ahead with a small 
escort, and study the ground with a view to an attack on 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 197 

the tribesmen, or for any other purpose. During an 
advance up a valley on the north-west frontier of India, 
or during a march through such jungles as are to be 
found in Burmah and elsewhere, it is quite possible to 
reconnoitre the country and decide upon its tactical capa- 
bilities for a subsequent retreat, but such reconnaissance 
will be of no use for the operations immediately taking 
place. Staff Rides of this nature should, in consequence, 
take the form of a series of tactical exercises on the 
ground rather than the stereotyped reconnaissances of 
regular warfare. The orders issued in the evening for 
the next day'^s operations will include more administrative 
than tactical details, the necessary instructions regarding 
the latter being given verbally on the ground as the 
situations arise. 

The scheme for the Staff' Ride can be taken from any 
of the numerous small wars upon which we have been 
engaged, and should include a line of communications 
which require protection from the hostile tribesmen, 
together with some definite plan involving the co-opera- 
tion of two or more columns which can but rarely gain 
communication with each other by visual signalling. The 
introduction of wireless telegraphy into the valleys of the 
tribesmen on the north-west frontier of India will no doubt 
greatly facilitate such communication, but there appears 
to be no practical experience of such methods at present. 

The most important requirement is to obtain suitable 
ground. It is useless to attempt to hold such a Staff* Ride 
in ordinary country : the demand on the imagination is 
too great to expect any useful instruction. To practise 
operations against the tribesmen on the north-west frontier 
of India we must go to the Snowdon range in Wales, or 
some similar ground, before we can even approach the 
required conditions. 

There are a few fundamental principles of hill-fighting 



198 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

which are dependent entirely on certain physical features 
of the ground, and to practise the application of these 
principles the ground must be of the required description. 

The first of these principles is that each side tries to 
occupy a higher peak than the other. 

The second is that the regular troops must be accom- 
panied by supplies with the necessary transport, and this 
transport must move along the valleys ; whereas the 
tribesmen depend on local resources for their sustenance, 
can assemble rapidly in one locality for warlike purposes, 
and can disperse with equal speed and immediately become 
peaceful inhabitants. 

The third principle is that the tribes by picketing the 
regular columns can obtain the most exact and ample 
information of their enemy, whilst it is rarely possible for 
the regular troops to obtain any information regarding the 
movements or intentions of the tribesmen. 

The fourth principle is that regular troops should never 
appear to be retreating unless it is absolutely unavoidable, 
such as a raid up a valley for the purpose of destroying 
villages, when there is no outlet at the head of the valley. 

The fifth principle is that an immediate attack, espe- 
cially if it can be delivered against the flank of any posi- 
tion, such as a pass which is occupied by tribesmen, is 
more likely to succeed even with small numbers than if a 
long halt is made to bring up reinforcements. 

The sixth principle is that any threat against the tribes- 
men's line of retreat will at once weaken their hold on the 
strongest of positions. 

The seventh principle is that the flanks of a moving 
column of troops or transport cannot be protected by 
detachments moving along the flanks, because it is out of 
the question to do so, and therefore the protection must 
be afforded by the occupation of definite localities, which 
must be held till the whole of the column has passed. 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 199 

To apply any of these principles during a Staff Ride 
suitable ground is absolutely essential. In the following 
example it is assumed that we desire to practise mountain 
warfare, and that the Snowdon range has been selected 
as most nearly approaching the required type of country. 
The reason for the war is immaterial. Hostilities are 
usually caused by the tribesmen raiding peaceful villages 
beyond the limits of their country, and the object of the 
subsequent campaign is almost invariably of a punitive 
nature, with the intention of returning after the tribes 
have been brought to terms, and not retaining possession 
of their territory. It is as well to make this clear in the 
scheme, because the methods to be adopted in the first 
case would differ materially from those in the second. In 
the first case one or more advanced dep6ts would be 
formed as close to the tribal territory as possible, or in 
some cases actually inside the border, and a series of puni- 
tive expeditions, each self-contained as regards supplies, 
would operate from these centres. In the second case 
definite passes and other localities must be permanently 
held and fortified, and the country conquered bit by bit. 
Either of these methods could of course be practised 
during a Staff Ride, but the general system of conducting 
the exercise would be much the same in each case. 

The geneml idea would explain the situation and 
describe the plan of operations. 

The special idea would deal with the part to be played 
by the one column selected for the exercise. 

General Idea. 

See Sketch No. 21. 

1. The territory of the various tribes is shown on the 
sketch, and the boundaries between each are indicated 
roughly by chain dotted lines. 

2. The Meuai Strait is supposed to be a deep gor^e 



^00 STAFP RIDRS ANi) REGIMENTAL TOURS 
with a mountain torrent, bridged at Port Dinorwic and 
Menai Bridge. The sea to the north-east is supposed to 
be mountainous countiy occupied by friendly tribes. The 
sea to the north-west is British territory, the frontier run- 
ning north-east and south-west through Holyhead. TTie 
sea south-west of Penrhyn and immediately west of Car- 
narvon is supposed to lie impassable mountainous country 
very sparsely inhabited. 

3. The fighting population of the Afon Khels is about 
7000, that of the Conway tribe about 6000, and that of 
the Anglesea tribe 4000. The Conway tribe are here- 
ditary enemies of the Afon Khels, but are even more 
hostile to the British than the latter. ITie Anglesea tribe, 
though friendly, are unlikely to resist the temptation 
afforded by any opportunity for loot. 

4. I^he Afon Khels have been raiding the villages of 
the Anglesea tribe, and also those in British territory. A 
punitive force has been sent against the Afon Khels, and, 
assisted by the Anglesea tribe, has driven them back 
across the Menai Strait. This force is now assembled at 
Menai Bridge and Port Dinorwic. l^he eastern column 
consists of one infantry brigade, one brigade of field artil- 
lery, one battery of mountain artillery, one battalion of 
pioneers, four companies of sappers and miners, and one 
squadron of cavalry. Holyhead is occupied by two bat- 
talions, a battery of field artillery, a squadron of cavalry, 
and a pioneer battalion. 

5. The nearest railway station is twenty miles north- 
west of Holyhead, with a good aiid well-graded roatl 
between the two. The road from Holyhead to Menai 
Bridge and the branch to Port Dinorwic is very rough in 
places, but practicable for wheeled transport. All other 
roads in the theatre of war which are marked brown in 
the half-inch Ordnance map are supposed to l)e mountain 
tracks, suitable for pack transport only. 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 201 

6. The British columns occupied Menai Bridge and 
Port Dinorwic on June 4, and it is proposed to establish 
supply depots at one or both of these places to facilitate 
the further operations against the Afon Khels. 

7. The Afon Khels are holding the entrances to the 
three passes, marked A, B, and C on the sketch, and are 
constantly firing on the British outposts covering Menai 
Bridge and Port Dinorwic. 

8. Unlimited reinforcements and an ample supply of 
transport can be obtained at twenty-four hours' notice at 
rail-head. 

Officers are required to appreciate the situation on 
June 4, particular attention being paid to the following 
points : 

(a) The strength, number, and composition of the 
various columns that are to invade the territory of the 
Afon Khels, and of any reserve which it is considered 
advisable to retain at Menai Bridge. 

(6) The method of supplying these columns and the 
amount of transport required to accompany each. 

(c) The method of dealing with possible hostilities on 
the part of the Conway tribe, and the security of the road 
through the territory of the Anglesea tribe. 

(d) The security of the advanced depots at Menai 
Bridge and Port Dinorwic, and how long it will take to 

. collect sufficient stores and transport at these places to 
enable the columns to advance. 

(e) Diagrams or graphics showing the system of supply 
and amount of transport required on the lines of com- 
munication should be attached to the appreciation. 



ITie above scheme could be issued to the officers about 
three weeks before the Staff Ride 



-202 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

would be examined and criticised by the director, who 
would then prepare the special idea, based on the inten- 
tions of the officer who was to command during the Staff 
Ride. 

The first paragraph of the general idea describes the 
extent of territory occupied by the various tribes. It will 
be seen at once that the size of each is ridiculously small 
compared with similar tracts of country on the north-west 
frontier of India. This drawback cannot be avoided when 
the Staff Ride is held in such a small mountainous district 
as North Wales. The main object should be to make the 
fullest possible use of the most suitable ground, and 
compel an advance over that ground by imposing conditions 
regarding hostile tribes and impassable country such as 
those indicated in the second paragraph. Otherwise the 
officers would naturally avoid the difficult advance 
through the Snowdon passes, and endeavour to go round 
over more favourable gi-ound. 

The third paragraph gives a rough estimate of the 
adult male population of the various tribes. The numbers 
given would depend upon the class of Staff Ride which it 
was proposed to carry out, limited by the number that 
would be likely to occupy such a small area in real war. 
Two disturbing elements are introduced into this para- 
graph in order to increase the interest and realism of the 
scheme. These are the probable attitude of the Conway 
tribe and the safety of the road through Anglesea. 

The fourth paragraph gives a sufficient reason for the 
campaign, and shows that when the Afon Khels have been 
brought to terms the British force will probably withdraw, 
so that no permanent occupation of the country is intended. 
The ojKjrations in the Anglesea country would not require 
so many men or so much organisation as the further 
advance into the territory of the Afon Khels, and for the 
purposes of the scheme it is assumed that the Anglesea 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 203 

country having been cleared, a pause is necessary before a 
further advance can be made. It may be said with justice 
that the force originally organised should have been strong 
enough, and equipped with sufficient transport, to carry 
out the whole operation without a check. 

The small extent of the mountainous country compels 
us, however, to create a situation where the troops are 
actually in front of the passes through which we wish to 
operate. Furthermore, it is desirable to give the officers a 
scheme which involves a study of how many troops are 
actually required. 

These numbers will be reduced to a minimum owing to 
the difficulty of supply, and if any officei^s recommend an 
unduly large force they will defeat their own ends. If the 
scheme is altered, and a situation is created before the 
Anglesea country has been cleared, the Staff Ride should 
take place through that country, which we know is unsuit- 
able for our purpose. If, on the other hand, the situation 
remains as depicted above and we produce the whole force 
on the Menai Strait, we must give the strength of this 
force, and the officers will lose a valuable part of the in- 
struction. Furthermore, it is much easier for the director 
to criticise the composition of the force employed by the 
officers, and their calculations regarding supplies, trans- 
port, &c., than to work out these details himself, and 
become subject to their criticisms. 

Finally, occasions have occuired, in small wars of this 
nature, where preliminary operations have taken place in 
order to secure a suitable advanced depot. This dep6t 
being held by a small force, which will not consume the 
supplies as rapidly as they can be collected, the numbers 
actually given in the fourth j)aragraph can be altered to 
suit the requirements of the case, and might perhaps l)e 
decreased with advantage. 

The fifth paragraph gives details about rail-head and 



!204 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the various roads in the theatre of war. The good metalled 
roads which actually run through the three Snowdon 
passes must be considered to be similar to the mountain 
tracks to the north-west of India. The remainder of the 
country must be taken as it actually exists. The distance 
to rail-head can be increased if considered desirable. 

The sixth and seventh paragraphs supply information 
as regards the date, and give the position of the Afon 
tribesmen. The date selected should be sufficiently ante- 
rior to that decided upon for the commencement of the 
Staff* Ride to allow the necessary time to elapse for the 
collection of supplies at the advanced depots. 

The eighth paragraph gives the source whence reinforce- 
ments, transport, and supplies can be obtained. The 
notes given under headings (a), (6), &c. should be 
unnecessary, except for untrained staff* officers. They are 
included above in order to show the general scope of the 
work. 

Before preparing the special idea it is desirable to 
explain the general management of the exercise, especially 
so far as it differs from an ordinary Staff* Ride. 

The work on the ground consists of a series of tactical 
or administrative exercises, and can include the attack or 
defence of the mouth of a pass, an advance or retreat 
through a valley or across a succession of mountain ridges, 
the selection and security of camps or bivouacs, and the 
])rotection of convoys of supplies. There is ample scope 
for the production of interesting situations dealing with 
any of these problems, but it will be found advisable to 
decide beforehand what <;lass of operation it is intended 
to practise and then frame the special idea, and the situa- 
tions, to suit each day'^s work. 

A previous reconnaissance of the Snowdon range by the 
director will disclose the fact that jwusses A and B most 
nearly approach the conditions of warfare beyond our 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 205 

north-west frontier, and of these two B is perhaps the 
best for an advance or retirement, because the rocky peaks 
are more precipitous, and it is more difficult to move troops 
along the summits of the ridges on each side of the road. 
For an attack on the mouth of a pass perhaps A is the best, 
in spite of the slate quarries and houses south of Bethesda. 

The officers might assemble at Bangor on the evening 
of 26th, and the following programme could be carried out : 

26th June. Work during the evening. Operation orders 
for the advance of the Menai Bridge column to capture the 
entrance to pass A. Arrangements for supplying the 
force, whether the supplies for the whole operations are to 
accompany the column or whether a line of communica- 
tion with Menai Bridge is to be kept open. A conference 
could be held after dinner, when the director might bring 
to notice the various tactical and administrative problems 
which have to be solved in all operations of this nature, 
and explain to the officers the principles of warfare against 
mountain tribesmen. 

27th June. The officers would assemble in the morning 
at some convenient place on the road selected for the 
advance of the column, where opposition might be expected 
and where the entrance to the pass could be seen. The 
orders written the previous night by the officer command- 
ing the column can be discussed, and it should be made 
quite clear how many troops there are in the advanced 
guard, the distance, if any, between the advanced guard 
and the main body, and the exact position at the moment 
of the head of the transport and of the rear-guard. The 
situation having been thoroughly explained to the officers 
and all questions they may ask having been replied to, 
they should be directed to decide upon the best way of 
attacking the pass. ITiis attack can be carried out on 
the gi*ound, by issuing a series of situations in the manner 
explained in Chapter XVIII.— E. The Attack. 



206 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

When this work is completed the officers, working as one 
party, can decide upon the locality for the camp and select 
suitable points to be held by picquets during the night. 
One officer should climb to each place selected for a picquet 
to make sure that it is suitable for the purpose and will 
be tenable at daybreak on the following day. Thus five 
or six officers would go off to visit the various places 
selected for picquets, and the remainder would work out 
the details of the bivouac. 

During the day each officer would write down his 
solution of each probleni that was presented to him, and 
these papers would be collected by the director at the close 
of the operations. In the evening the officers would write 
operation orders for the next day's advance up the pass. 
These orders would deal chiefly with the order of march, 
strength of the advanced guard, and other details of that 
nature. The director would examine the work done by 
the officers during the day, and hold a conference dealing 
with that work about 9.30 p.m., when he would also 
recapitulate the important principles of mountain warfare 
that had been discussed on the gi'ound. 

On June 28 the officers would assemble on the ground 
captured the previous day, and a series of situations would 
be issued dealing with the advance up the valley towards 
A and the final capture of the head of the pass. Types 
of these situations are given below, and explain themselves. 
When preparing the situations the events which usually 
occur during an operation of this nature should be borne 
in mind. Thus the tribesmen frequently allow the greater 
part of the fighting portion of a force to pass up the valley, 
in the hope that a favourable opportunity may occur for 
attacking and looting the transport and killing the 
drivers. The situations should therefore deal with danger 
on the flanks and rear rather than in front, except at the 
head of the pass, where the tribesmen would vigorously 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 207 

oppose a further advance both in front and 6n the 
flanks. 

It will be found that during the early stages of the 
advance the officers are apt to detach too many companies 
to guard the flank and rear of the column, and con- 
sequently, during the later stages, sufficient troops are not 
available to deal with the more serious opposition. It 
should be pointed out that if half a company is detached 
to hold a peak on the flank, it is extremely unlikely that 
those men will be able to regain the head of the column 
during that day's march. It is most difficult to pass men 
along a line of transport when the only road is the bed of 
a mountain stream. It is advisable therefore at the 
commencement of an advance to place nearly all the 
fighting troops in front. Companies, half-companies, or 
sections are detached from time to time to hold peaks or 
ground on the flanks, and these join the rear-guard when 
the whole of the transport has passed. In this manner 
the leading troops are constantly being reduced in numbers 
and the rear-guard increased. The method of allotting 
work to the various battalions at the head of the column 
forms an instructive subject for discussion. Broadly 
speaking, there are two methods. One is to give one flank 
to one battalion till all its companies are used up, 
another battalion taking the other flank. The other system 
is to give both flanks to one battalion till the whole is 
absorbed. There are arguments in favour of both systems, 
but it is probable that the latter is the best, becaase all the 
companies eventually collect in one locality, the battalion 
commander has not such a length of road to guard, and 
consequently can use his reserve companies more rapidly 
and with more effect. The withdrawal of the last com- 
panies of the rear-guard is always a difficult matter, and 
the evacuation of a point on one flank must frequently be 
timed to harmonise with that on another flank. If ow^ 



208 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

man is commanding the companies on both flanks the 
operation can be conducted with more precision, and with 
less chance of a company or section being cut oflF. 
Numerous other tactical problems of a similar nature will 
constantly crop up during the exercise. 

The final attack on the head of the pass will require the 
closest co-operation of artillery and infantry. It frequently 
occurs that artillery by moving up the slopes of one side 
of a valley can find a good position to fire across to the 
other side, when no position exists in the valley itself. 
Fire directed in this manner is somewhat oblique to the 
enemy, and the target is not obscured by ridges running 
out into the valley. 

The work done during the day would be examined by 
the director in the evening, and a conference held as sug- 
gested for June 27. The narrative issued every evening 
at 5 P.M. would give the situation for the next day's 
operations, and officers would be called upon to write the 
necessary orders and prepare any other staff work which 
was recjuired. 

On June 29 the scene of operations might be changed 
to pass B, and a fresh situation created involving a retreat of 
the Port Dinorwic column from the head of the pass towards 
Port Dinorwic, with the tribes holding the peaks on either 
flank. This exercise would be carried out by means of a 
series of situations in the same manner as described in 
Chapter XVIII.— D. The Action of a Rear-Guard. The 
object of this change would be to bring the officers on to 
fresh ground and practise the most difficult opei*ation of 
hill warfare, namely, a retreat. The conference in the 
evening would deal with the operations which had been 
studied during the day, and the officers would be directed 
to prepare operation orders for the next day's work. 

On June 30 the scheme might again be changed slightly 
to practise an attack by the Menai Bridge column from 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 209 

the A valley over the ridge to the B valley to assist the 
Port Dinorwic column. Whatever scheme of work is 
decided upon, no useful purpose can be served by carrying 
the operations farther south than the places marked A, B, 
and C on the sketch, because the hills, though still high, 
lose their precipitous nature, and troops can move over 
them in almost every direction. The scheme must be 
sacrificed to the ground which is available, and when this is 
limited many difficulties, such as those already mentioned, 
will crop up, and not only tax the ingenuity of the officer 
who is preparing the scheme, but demand the exercise of 
a good deal of imagination on the part of the officers under 
instruction. The great object should be to make the 
fullest possible use of the ground which is most suitable, 
even if the continuity of the scheme is interfered with, and 
to avoid any imaginary change in the physical features of 
the country where the tactical and administrative part of 
the scheme is to be worked out on the ground. 

In the above scheme the narratives issued each evening 
might disclose the following course of events, on the suppo- 
sition that it has been decided to employ four columns : 

June 27. 

No. 1 column starts from Menai Bridge and captures 

the entrance to valley A. 
No. 2 column remains in reserve at Menai Bridge. 
No. 3 column from Port Dinorwic advances and carries 

the entrance to valley B. 
No. 4 column remains in reserve at Port Dinorwic. 
The operations of No. 1 column only to be worked out 

on the ground. 

June SS. 

No. 1 column advances towards A, but fails to capture 

the pass at A, and bivouacs north of it. 
No. S oolmim remains as before. 



210 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

No. 3 column advances, but fails to capture the pass at 

B, and bivouacs north-west of it. 
No. 4 column remains as before. 
The operations of No. 1 column to be worked out on 

the ground. 

June 29. 

The hills east, west, and south of No. 3 column are 
occupied by a powerful force of tribesmen, and the 
column is compelled to retire. No. 1 column carries 
the pass at A, late in the afternoon, but the hills just 
south of A are still held by the tribesmen. 

No. 2 column is ordered up from Menai Bridge during 
the day, and bivouacs at night north of A. 

No. 4 column remains at Port Dinorwic. 

The operations of No. 3 column to be« worked out on 
the ground. 

June 30. 

No. 1 column continues to hold the pass at A and 

attacks the hills to the south of it. 
No. 2 column is directed to cross the range west of A 

and assist in the advance of No. 3 column. 
No. 3 column again advances to attack the head of the 

pass at B. 
The operations of No. 2 colunm to be worked out on 

the ground. 

Assuming that it has been decided to can*y out the 
operations described above, the special ideas, the various 
situations, and the narratives can now be prepared. 
Sketch No. 21 is on too small a scale to give the necessary 
details of ground and names of placres, so in the following 
examples these, together with the number and composition 
of the columns, are omitted. The only object of giving 
these examples is to suggest the various points which 
require attention in order to make the exercise a success. 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 211 

Special Idea. 

1. The field force for the campaign against] the Afon 
Khels is divided into four columns. Nos. 1 and 2 columns 
are assembled at Menai Bridge, and Nos. 3 and 4 columns 
at Port Dinorwic. The strength and composition of each 
colunni is as follows, &c. &c. 

2. The advanced depots established at Menai Bridge and 
Port Dinorwic contain — days' supplies for the whole 
force. Each column carries with it — days' supplies on 
mules, and an ammunition column containing a reserve of 
— rounds S. A. A. per man and — rounds of shell per gun. 

3. Nos. 1 and 3 columns are ordered to advance on 
27th from Menai Bridge and Port Dinorwic and capture 
the entrance to A and B passes respectively, which are 
known to be held by the Afon Khels. 

4. Reports have been received that the Conway 
tribesmen are collecting on their western border, but 
there is no information available as to whether they have 
joined hands with the Afon Khels. 

5. The present outpost line covering Menai Bridge 
extends from by and to . 



Officers are required to write the orders and make all 
necessary arrangements for the advance of No. 1 column 
from Menai Bridge on June 27. 

A conference on the general subject of hill warfare will 
be held at 9.30 p.m. to-night. 



Having received the orders written by the officer com- 
manding Nj. 1 column, the director will see that every 
other officer is given a copy. He will then decide the 
best place for the officers to assemble about 10 a.m. on 28th, 
and will prepare the various situations, which would be of 
the following natui*e : 



214 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

3. The first and second columns are ordered to advance 
to-morrow and endeavour to secure the head of the passes 
at A and B respectively. The third and fourth columns 
will remain at Menai Bridge and Port Dinorwic. 

4. Information has been received that the Afon Khels 
are holding the passes at A, B, and C, but no idea can be 
obtained of their comparative strength at each. 

5. The Conway tribe are reported to be joining the 
Afon Khels. 

During the evening the officers would write orders for 
the advance up the valley next day, and work out any 
details regarding supply, care of wounded, &c., which the 
peculiar circumstances of each case would demand. The 
director would hold a conference in the evening and discuss 
the most important points brought to light during the 
work on the ground. 

On June 28 the officers would assemble about 10 a.m. 
at the bivouac occupied the previous evening. All officers 
would have been given the exact distribution of the out- 
posts and a copy of the orders issued by the officer com- 
manding the column for the advance up the valley. These 
details would form the basis for the exercise which during 
the earlier stages can be conducted in the manner sug- 
gested below without issuing any situations. 

The officers will accompany the director into the defile, 
and a halt will be made directly the outposts have been 
passed and it becomes apparent that some troops must be 
sent to occupy a peak on either flank. It will be best to 
divide the officers into parties of two or three, officers of 
diflTerent arms working together. This will abbreviate the 
discussions and simplify the subsequent examination of 
the work. 

At the first halt the director will ask each party to enter 
in their note-books what ground on the flanks it is neces- 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 215 

sary to hold, where the troops are to come from, and what 
they are to do when the whole of the transport has passed. 
This ought not to take more than ten minutes or so. 
The director can then discuss the decisions of the various 
parties and state what he considers would be the correct 
solution of the problem. The officers would then be taken 
farther up the valley imtil it was again necessary to detach 
troops to the flanks. In this manner the exercise would 
proceed until the whole of the column with its transport 
had entered the defile. 

At each halt the director should state whether any 
ground in the neighbourhood is occupied by the tribesmen, 
and the intensity of fire from any particular point. 

Once or twice during this part of the exercise the director 
should send the officers actually on to the peaks they pro- 
pose to picquet. It is most important that this should be 
done, because frequently on arrival at some suggested 
locality it is found necessary to occupy some other point 
beyond in order to secure the safety of the column. The 
actual physical exertion of climbing on to these peaks 
brings home to the officers the difficulties of the advance, 
and also greatly improves their eye for such country. If 
officers simply stroll along a valley and say they will put 
a picquet on that peak, another somewhere else, and so on, 
the instruction is not brought home to them, and a great 
part of the value of the exercise is lost. It is also desirable 
that the director himself should visit one or two of these 
peaks, so as to be able to speak with greater authority on 
the subject. 

The best system is to halt when some ground of unusual 
interest is reached and tell off officers in parties of two to 
climb the various peaks. They should be directed to con- 
sider, as they go along, how they would lead their men to 
attack these localities in case they are held by the enemy, 
and whether the whole force placed at their disposal showld. 



212 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Fwst Situation. 

1. In accordance with the orders issued by the officer com- 
manding No. 1 column, the force is now disposed as follows : 

The head of the advanced guard is at , the he£ul of 

the transport at , the rear of the transport at 

(or the transport has not yet left camp). 

% Hitherto the tribesmen have not appeared in force, 

but on attempting to advance from the leading troops 

of the colunm were heavily fired upon from , , 

and . 

.3. The localities occupied by the tribesmen and the 
comparative intensity of fire from each will be indicated 
by the director on the ground. 

4. As officer connnanding No. 1 column, state hpw you 
would atttick the entrance to the defile in front. 

Officers would require about an hour to reconnoitre the 
ground, decide upon their plan of action, and write down 
their intentions. During this reconnaissance the officei-s 
should not be allowed to wander from the main column, 
approach too closely to the ground occupied by the tribes- 
men, or do anything they would be unlikely to be able to 
do in real war. The officers would reassemble at the hour 
appointed by the director, and the latter would discuss 
the various plans put forward, and state what he c(ni- 
sidered to be the best solution. The attack could then 
be carried out on the ground in the manner suggested 
in Chapter XVIII. — E. The Attack. At the conclusion of 
this exercise the second situation could be issued, and 
might read as follows : 



*o»^ 



Second Sitiuitiwi, 
!• The exact distribution of the British troops, after 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 213 

the successful assault on the position held by the tribesmen, 
will be given to the officers on the ground. 

2. The head of the transport has reached ; the rear- 
guard haPi just cleared . 

3. The tribesmen have disappeared into the valley, and 
none of them are to be seen, though an occasional shot is 
heard. 

4. The British casualties during the attack have 
amounted to 43 men. 

5. It is now 4 p.m., and the officer commanding the 
cplumn has decided to bivouac for the night. State what 
arrangements you would make for the comfort and security 
of the troops and transport. 



This situation would be worked out in the manner 
suggested on page 206. The officers would then assemble 
at the place selected for the bivouac, and the various 
arrangements would be discussed. This would terminate 
the work on the ground. A narrative should be issued at 
5 P.M. showing the progress of events with the third 
column, and giving any information considered desirable 
regarding the Afon Khels or the Conway tribe. This 
might take the following form : 

Narrative of Operations up to 5 p.m., June 2S, 

1. The operations of No. 1 column have been de.«cribed 
on the ground. 

2. No. 3 column advanced from Port Dinorwic early on 
the 27th and attacked the entrance to valley B. The 
tribesmen were driven back after a severe struggle, in 
which the British casualities amounted to 79 men. The 

column bivouacked near (the most convenient locality 

near the captured position), with the adjacent hills occu- 
pied by picquets. 



218 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Narrative of Operations up to 10 a.m. on 29th. 

1. During June 28 No. 3 colunni advanced up the 
valley B, and at about 11 a.m. were heavily attacked on 
both flanks by the tribesmen. The attack was repulsed, 
and about 3 p.m. the leading troops of the column ap- 
proached within a mile of B. The head of the pass was 
found to be strongly held by the tribesmen. 

2. The officer commanding No. 3 column bivouacked 
about two miles north of B, intending to attack the head 
of the pass early on 29th. 

3. On 29th the tribesmen appeared in great strength 
on the surrounding hills, and the line of retreat of 
No. 3 colunm was cut off. An attack on the head of 
the pass at B had failed, and the officer commanding 
No. 3 column decided to retire to the entrance of the 
valley and ask for the assistance of No. 4 column. 

4. The troops attacking the head of the pass withdrew 
to the bivouac at 10 a.m., the outposts still remaining in 
the position they occupied during the night. The exact 
positions of the bivouac and of the outposts are shown 
on the attached Ordnance map. 

5. Heavy firing is heard during the morning in the 
direction of A, but it is not known whether No. 1 column 
has succeeded in capturing the head of the pass or not. 
The hills south and south-west of A are still held by the 
tribesmen. 

This is a somewhat feeble situation to produce, but it is 
very important that the officers should have an oppor- 
tunity of practising a retreat, and the reasons for the 
operation are quite innnaterial. The director should 
supply the information and the sketch referred to in para- 
graph 4, otherwise the officers will have no data on which 
to base their orders for the retreat. It will be necessary 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 219 

for the director to visit valley B to obtain this information, 
as it can hardly be decided from the map alone. 

During the evening of 28th the officers will write 
the orders for the retreat of No. 3 column, and the director 
will hold a conference on the work done during the day. 
The above-mentioned orders will deal chiefly with the 
order of march and the composition of the advanced and 
rear-guards. They are required as a working basis for 
the exercise on 29th. The officers would assemble at the 
bivouac of No. 3 coluum about 10 a.m. on 29th, and the 
director would discuss the orders issued for the retreat. 

The first operation would be to gain ground to the 
north so as to commence the retirement of the transport. 
This part of the exercise need not be worked out on the 
ground, as the tactical procedure is the same as the opera- 
tion pi-actised on 28th during the advance up valley 
A. The director therefore can create a situation of the 
following nature, and work out the retreat of the rear- 
guard only : 

Firfft Situation. 

1. The advanced guard, closely followed by the head of 
the transport, has reached -, The rear of the trans- 
port has just left the bivouac. 

2. As officer commanding the rear battalion of the 
column, state how you propose to carry out the orders of 
the officer commanding No. 3 column and commence your 
retirement. 

The officers should be allowed about twenty minutes to 
write down what they propose to do, and the director 
would then discuss the situation in the usual manner. 

The whole retirement down the valley would be worked 
out much in the same way as suggested for the advance. 
As soon as the rear of the column has passed the picquets 



220 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

that covered the bivouac during the night, the director 
must arbitrarily decide the number of companies and the 
unit they belong to which are holding the various tactical 
points on the flanks of the transport during its retreat. 

The method of withdrawing the various picquets and 
covering their retreat from positions held in rear is some- 
what complicated, but is most instructive. The method 
of conveying orders ; the question whether the picquet 
on the west or the east should retire first, the point it 
should retire on ; how the various units are to be assembled 
on reaching the valley so that everything is in order, with 
no confusion ; and many other points of a similar nature 
will afford ample scope for discussion and decision. 

When a situation of particular interest arises, the 
officers should be sent in parties of two to climb to the 
various peaks held by the picquets, and directed to study 
the line of retreat of cac^h picquet, and how far other 
picquets can assist. They should then assemble in the 
valley and discuss their experiences with the director. As 
already explained, it is very important that this should be 
done, because officers get a very slight idea of the diffi- 
culties which arise if they merely walk down the valley. 

The action of the artillery during the retreat will also 
be considered, and the exact position occupied by the guns 
in each case should be decided upon and visited. It will 
be found that guns placed slightly up the eastern side of 
the valley will, as a rule, be in the best position to assist 
the retirement of the companies on the west side, and vice 
versa. 

The moment when the guns should retire, when other 
positions have already been taken up in rear, will also 
re(iuire careful consideration. In fact, the infantry and 
artillery retreat, each working in the closest co-operation 
with the other, re(|uircs some forethought and practice 
before the best results can be produced. If when this 



OPERATIONS AGAINST TRIBESMEN 221 

exercise is completed there is time for further work, the 
officers can be directed to select a position holding the 
entrance to the valley, so as to facilitate the advance when 
reinforcements have been brought up from Port Dinorwic. 

The work on the evening of the 29th and during 
June 30 can be carried out in a similar manner to the 
above. If it is desired, the scheme suggested on page 
210 for June 30 can be changed, and the attack on the 
head of the pass at A by No. 1 column, or on the head of 
the pass at B by No. 3 column, reinforced from Dinorwic, 
can be carried out instead. This would be described in 
the narrative issued at 5 p.m on June 29. 

Attempts have been made to carry out some of the 
above work by the ordinary system of reconnaissance, but 
it is not satisfactory. The director has to write out 
lengthy " situations '*'' for each officer, each tactical opera- 
tion is soon completed, and there is nothing further for 
the officer to do. The work is quite dift'erent to that on 
an ordinary Staff* Ride, where a reconnaissance for attack, 
defence, outposts, &c., will completely fill up one officer'^s 
time for the day. The system advocated above has bet^n 
found by experience to be far better from the point of 
view of instruction, and far easier to conduct. 

There is not very much work to do in the evening, but that 
is an advantage, as the officers will be tired after climbing 
three or four thousand feet during the day. Officers should 
be warned to wear old clothes and suitable boots, and it is 
advisable for two officers to go together, as some of the 
peaks are very difficult to reach. 

In some places the only possible way to keep down the 
fire from the top of a precipice is to climb up the slopes 
on the opposite side of the valley. The tribesmen who 
wish to fire on the colunm may conceal themselves from 
the column itself, but will be exposed to view from the 
upper slopes of the opposite hill. 



222 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

If we wish to practise operations against tribesmen in 
country covered Math bush or jungle, or on a sandy desert, 
it is essential that the exercise should be conducted over 
the required type of ground. The ordinary class of Staff 
Ride is unsuitable for the purpose, but a series of tactical 
exercises on the ground in the manner described above for 
hill fighting should prove highly instructive. In such 
cases there is very little variation in the type of country, 
so that the chief object of the exercises would be to study 
the tactics of the enemy, ascertain how he can be dealt 
with, and how the nature of the country, which will 
usually favour his tactics, can be turned to our own 
advantage or the difficulties reduced. 

The scheme would be unimportant, but the methods of 
supply, formations on the line of march, methods of 
attack, defence, security, &c., would form material for 
instructive work. The exercises would be conducted in 
the same manner as suggested for practising hill fighting, 
so there is no occasion to enter into further details. 
There would be some difficulties as regards expense, and 
also as to the transport of food and tents for the ofiicei*s 
taking part in the exercise. These no doubt could be 
overcome locally. 

Our troops have suffered heavy losses in the past, and 
sometimes have failed, through neglecting to study the 
country and the inhabitants around them. It appears to 
be desirable, therefore, that officers quartered in such 
countries should not confine themselves to exercises in 
warfare against civilised nations, but should endeavour to 
extend their military knowledge by studying the peculiar 
conditions of ground and the tactics of a possible enemy 
whom they may find close at hand. 



CHAPTER XI 

EXAMPLES of; STRATEGICAL, TACTICAL, AND AD- 
MINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS SUITABLE FOR 
STAFF RIDES, AND A CONSIDERATION OF 
THE INSTRUCTIONS WHICH SHOULD BE GIVEN 
TO RECONNOITRING OFFICERS 

A LIST of strategical, tactical, and administrative problems 
suitable for working out on the ground is inserted, 
together with a similar list of problems which can be 
dealt with indoors. 

Assistant directors and commanders are at a loss some- 
times to find suitable work for the officers on a Staff 
Ride, and a reference to this list may be of service to 
them. All the problems suggested have actually been 
dealt with on previous Staff Rides, so the list contains no 
novelties. Notes on the method of solving some of these 
problems will be found in Chapters XIV. to XVI. 

OUTDOOR WORK. 
Strategical Reconnaissances. 
I. The general reconnaissance of a theatre of war or of 
an area of operations. 

To ascertain the nature of the physical obstacles, such 
as mountains, rivers, canals, lakes, marshes, forests, enclosed 
country, &c. 

The means of communication, such as waterways, rail- 
ways, roads, &c. 



224 STAFF RIDPIS AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The means of transmitting information, by telegraph, 
post, rumiers, boats, beacons, visual signalling, &c. 

The resources as regard supplies of all kinds, such as 
food, forage, remounts, pack animals, manufactories, loco- 
motives, railway waggons, motors, road vehicles and their 
traction, steam traction-engines, tents, blankets — ^in fiurt, 
everything that an army requires in the field, including in 
some cases, as on the north-west frontier of India, re- 
cruits, all the above points having reference to the 
defence of a frontier, the selection of a line of invasion, or 
the connnencement of a new phase in a campaign. Ex- 
aniples : The defence of Belgium in 1815, of France in 
1870, or of Manchuria in 1904. The invasion of these 
countries at the same periods. The reconnaissance of the 
Bohemian mountains for the passage of the Prussian aimy 
in 1866. The reconnaissance of Bavaria for the advance 
of the French army to the Danube in 1805. 

II. lleconnaissance for a definite strategical object, such 
as the passage of an obstacle, a change of base, a dis- 
embarkation, retirement, &c. 

Examples : The reconnaissance to change Wellington's 
base from Portugal to the northern ports of Spain in 
1813. The reconnaissance of the northern portion of Spain 
in 1813 to turn the French right in the Vittoria campaign. 
The reconnaissance by the Russians in 1877 to select a 
point of concentration on the Danube for their army. The 
reconnaissance of tlie coasts of Korea and the Liaou Tung 
Peninsula in 1904 for the landing of the Japanese army. 

All the above involve a certain amount of tactical and 
a great deal of administrative reconnaissance, the main 
strategical object being kept consbuitly in view. 

III. The recoiuiaissance of a railway system, or of 
waterways, for any of the purposes mentioned in II., or 
for some other object. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 225 

Such as the reconnaissance of the French railways when 
the Germans were advancing on Paris in 1870, to dis- 
cover which were the best lines to repair, &c. The recon- 
naissance of canals, such as the sweet water canal in 
Egypt in 1882, to discover its utility and its possibilities 
and requirements for defence. The reconnaissance of the 
waterways in Portugal in 1811, with the object of forming 
supply depots to give Wellington's army freedom and 
rapidity of movement throughout that country. 

Strategical and Tactical Reconnaissances, 

IV. The reconnaissance of a district partly for strategical 
and partly for tactical reasons ; such as the examination of 
alternative lines of operation with a view to the selection 
of whichever is best for fighting purposes either in an 
advance or a retreat. 

Examples of the above can be found in our invasion of 
Afghanistan in 1878, and Napoleon's secondary line of 
retreat through Bohemia instead of along the Danube, 
just before the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The re- 
connaissance of a line of operations which has already 
been decided upon, either for political reasons or because 
no other line is possible, in order to discover its advan- 
tages and disadvantages, the strategical and tactical diffi- 
culties which may arise, and how to overcome them or 
turn them to our own advantage. Examples of these can be 
found in the Boer invasion of Natal in 1899, which was 
political, and in the Russian invasion of Turkey in 1877, 
the Turks having command of the Black Sea, and only 
one line of operations being open to the Russians. 

Tactical and Administrative Reconnaissances. 

V. The reconnaissance of an area purely for tactical or 
administrative purposes. 

To discover the best line of attack, or of retreat^ wiik 



226 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

alternative lines for each. The best local position for a 
prolonged halt, for outposts, or for a position of readiness 
either to attack or defend ; to defend or force the passage 
of an obstacle ; to protect a flank ; to select defeusive 
posts on a line of communications, and to guard coniroys 
moving along'that line. To ascertain a suitable locality 
for an advanced post, remount depots, supply and ordnance 
depots, hospitals, select railway stations for definite 
objects ; to discover local resources and how they can be 
utilised for the benefit of the troops ; to select a suitable 
line for laying a telegraph, railway, tram, or road. To 
discover means of obtaining water, fuel, forage, or any 
other requirement for the troops when these are scarce. 

VI. Detailed recoiniaissance, either tactical or adminis- 
trative, of a locality already roughly selected for the 
purpose in view. 

The best method of attacking a hostile position, includ- 
ing a reconnaissance of the approaches. The defence of a 
position, including the possibility of counter-stroke ; the 
facility for movement of ammunition columns, reserves, 
&c., in rear, and the nature of the lines of retreat. The 
reconnaissance of a fighting position already selected, with 
a view to " battle administration,*" such as the supply of 
food, ammunition, and water, the care and movement of 
the wounded and disposal of the killed, the method of 
keeping the roads in rear of the fighting position clear of 
incumbrances, the means of lateral communication for the 
movement of troops. The locality for regimental trans- 
port and for the supply columns, method and hours of 
filling up the fornier from the latter. In fact, careful 
arrangements so that all administrative recpiirements of 
the troops during battle and after battle are thought out 
beforehand, with special reference to the peculiar require- 
ments of each case, and with the knowledge that a great 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 227 

deal of this work must be done after dark, when it is very 
easy in close country for transport to take a wrong road 
or track, and still easier to take a wrong direction in open 
country. 

The reconnaissance of a bivouac. The selection of a fight- 
ing position for troops in the bivouac. The establishment of 
outposts covering this fighting position and the bivouac. 
The establishment of outposts in close touch with the 
enemy for a force in battle formation, when temporarily 
halted, or about to retreat. The reconnaissance of ground 
for a night attack, a night march, or a retreat by night. 
The selection and defence of tactical localities on a wide 
front for a force in a position of readiness either to attack 
or defend. The defence of an entrenched camp and ad- 
vanced depot, a post on the lines of communication, a base, 
a railway bridge or station, canal lock, mountain pass, 
ford, road, bridge, &c. The reconnaissance of roads for 
an advance, retreat, movement to a flank, or for the use of 
any particular kind of transport from a coolie to a steam 
traction-engine. The repair and destruction of roads. 
The reconnaissance of a river or canal for boat navigation 
either for the transport of troops or supplies, for building 
a bridge or making a ford. For forcing and defending the 
passage at any particular point, for destroying existing 
locks, dams, and bridges, or making inundations. The 
reconnaissance of a railway station for entraining troops, 
sick and wounded, supplies of all kinds, horses, camels, 
live stock, forage, ammunition, ordnance stores, traction 
engines, transport waggons, &c., or for detraining any of 
these. The improvement of existing stations, such as 
the extension of sidings, provision of water, lighting, 
precaution against fire, construction of sheds and plat- 
forms, and the building of a railway station where 
none exists. The establishment of camps, depots, and 
hospitals, either at a railway station, at a ^o-sX, ow >^<i 



228 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

lines of communication, at the advanced depot, or at the 
base. Reconnaissance of a town or village, for attack or 
defence, for supplies for hospitals as a dep6t, or for what- 
ever military purpose it is required. The policing and 
control of the inhabitants, and the usual peace method of 
preserving order. The reconnaissance of woods, forests, or 
marshes, for the purpose of making roads through them, 
either for the use of fighting troops only, or also for trans- 
port. The reconnaissance of mountain tracks and passes 
for similar purposes. 

INDOOR WORK 

Strategical, Tactical, and Administrative Problems 
WHICH can be dealt with indooks, in some cases with 

AND IN OTHERS WITHOUT PREVIOUS RECONNAISSANCE. 

VII. Any of the problems described above, after the 
necessary information has been obtained by visiting the 
ground. 

VIII. The appreciation of strategical, tactical, and ad- 
ministrative situations. The first two are constantly 
practised during Staff Rides, but the last is not usually 
given sufficient attention. 

Appreciations of a situation from the point of view 
of some subordinate commander or administrator, such as 
the officer commanding the cavalry or the artillery, the 
officer directing the supply, transport, medical, ordnance, 
telegraph, postal services, &c. 

Appreciations of a situation, so far as it is known, from 
the point of view of the hostile commander. 

The method of dealing with all these appreciations is 
dealt with in Chapter XIV. 

IX. The preparation of instructions and orders of all 
kinds, except those which are issued to troops during the 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 229 

progress of an engagement, which last are dealt with in 
Chapter XVIII. under the heading Tactical Exercises on 
the Ground. 

X. The drafting of reports of all kinds, such as de- 
spatches to superior headquarters, or to the Government 
at home, intelligence reports, staff diaries, &c, 

XI. The solution of administrative problems when the 
general plan has been decided upon, such as : 

(a) The embarkation, disembarkation, and transporta- 
tion of troops by sea, river> canal, or lake. The loading, 
unloading, and transportation of supplies of all kinds. 

(b) The necessary provision for wastage of war, including 
calculations regarding the number of reinforcements, 
amount of ammunition, &c., which should be at all times 
collected at the advanced depot, at the base, and, in cases 
like India and South Africa, coming across the sea. 

(c) The administrative organisation of a seaport, either 
for embarkation or disembarkation, of a railway centre 
for entraining or detraining, of a line of communications 
with its base, defended posts, and advanced depots. 

(d) The collection and distribution of local supplies of 
all kinds, including remounts, transpoi-t animals, waggons, 
bicycles, motor-cai^s, telegraph and telephone instruments, 
&c. ; places where they are to be collected, how they are to 
reach the troops, and how they are to be withdrawn if the 
locality has to be given up to the enemy. 

(e) The collection and distribution of civilian labour, 
its organisation into corps, feeding, discipline, provision of 
tools, supervision, medical and sanitary requirements, 
formation of camps, Sic. 

{f) The disposal of prisoners of war, their escort, food, 
clothing, blankets, tents, medical and sanitary require- 
ments. 

{g) The disposal of military prisoners under long sen- 



230 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

tences, the establishment of the necessary prisons or deten- 
tion cells whilst moving down to the base, the system of 
escorts. 

(A) Details regarding postal and telegraph services, 
censors, precedence of military telegraphs, clearing the 
line, &c. Escorts for and defence of important telegraph 
lines. 

(i) Military correspondents and foreign attaches. 

XII. Intelligence. Secret service agents, field intelli- 
gence with the troops, information from inhabitants, home 
and foreign press. 

The above are given as a general guide merely to remind 
officers on the directing staff of the numerous administra- 
tive problems which crop up daily during all military 
operations in front of the enemy. Some of them would 
not be dealt with in an ordinary divisional Staff Ride, but 
they are inserted here because at any moment a division 
acting alone might be in want of any one of them, and 
the staff* would be compelled to take steps to ensure that 
the requirements were met. Examples will be found below 
of the type of problem which could be given under each 
of the above headings. 

It is very important that the staff officers under instruc- 
tion should be given interesting as well as instructive 
work, and both the interest and the instruction depend 
greatly upon the comprehensive nature of the orders they 
receive for executing the reconnaissance. For example, 
a staff officer may be sent out to reconnoitre a position 
for defence in the neighbourhood of some specified locality, 
without being informed of any details as to the number of 
troops which are available to hold it, the intentions of the 
commander, if it is eventually to be (XTupied, or the 
general situation as regards the line of retreat, the prob- 
ability of counter-stroke, &c. Similarly an officer may be 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 231 

sent to reconnoitre a hostile position with a view to attack, 
and, not knowing the general situation, will devote his 
energies to working out an elaborate advance against 
a fl-ink which could not be attacked owing to the direction 
of the line of retreat or the distribution of the troops. 
Again, in an administrative problem, an officer might be 
called upon to make all arrangements for entraining 
a division at a certain station without being given any 
details regarding the number of trains per hour which 
could be received and dealt with at the detraining station. 
Or an officer might be detailed to arrange an outpost line 
without being told where it was intended that the troops 
in bivouac should fight if the outposts were attacked. 

The object of all reconnaissance is to place the com- 
mander in a position to deal with a certain definite problem. 
The reconnoitring officer therefore must study the locality 
from the point of view of that problem alone. His report, 
if he writes one, should include such matters as affect the 
object, and nothing else. It is essential, therefore, to 
provide him vith sufficient information to enable him 
to deal with the problem in a concise but comprehensive 
manner. 

The following examples, based on situations which 
would be likely to arise during the Staff Ride described in 
Chapter V., may be useful to explain more fully the type 
of instructions which should be issued to reconnoitring 
officers. 

In this scheme^ as worked out in the general and special 
ideas, which were intended for a divisional Staff Hide, 
there would be no scope for an exercise under heading I., 
" The general reconnaissance of a theatre of war or of a 
large area of operations.'" In fact, it has only been in- 
serted to complete the list. The instructions to recon- 
noitring officers would include a statement of the proposed 
alternative plans of campaign, and special attentiou wovsid 



232 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

be called to the details that required the most careful 

investigation. 

Under Heading XL, " The reconnaissance of an area for 
a definite strategical object,'' the scheme as described in 
the special ideas would again be unsuitable ; but for a larger 
Staff Ride, where the operations of the whole of the 
opposing forces north of the Galty mountains were being 
dealt with, an instructive exercise could be found. 

If the Red force was driven back from its position about 
Kilmallock it would be necessary for the commander to 
possess a detailed military reconnaissance of the area 
Listowel, Killamey, Mallow, Rathkeale, an area 35 miles 
by 30, or over 1000 square miles. It would be quite 
impossible, in the short time available, for one officer to 
carry out a thorough reconnaissance of the whole of this 
area, so it would be necessary to limit the scope of his 
work by directing him to report on a few salient 
points. 

If the area is to be used as a theatre of operations by 
Red, it will mean that the Red army has been driven back. 
The commander, when retiring, will wish to know what 
direction he should take in order to pain a good strategical 
position from which to continue the struggle. The most 
important duty of the reconnoitring officer would be to 
discover this strategical position by a careful study of the 
available roads, of the physical features, and of the railways 
running westwards by which the Red army could be sup- 
plied. A good deal of the reconnaissance can be done on 
a map if there is a good one available, and wherever there 
are railways there is usually a fairly good road map, which 
shows at least the main roads, as in Spain or the Balkans. 
A glance at Sketch No. 15 will show that Tralee is an 
important strategical point, because of the railways run- 
ning west at and just south of that place. 

The main object of the recoimaissance in this case would 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 'iSS 

be to select a strategical position which would cover 
Tralee, which would render offensive operations possible, 
and which would involve the enemy in difficulties. In 
fact, such a strategical position as that at present occupied 
by the Red force about Killmallock. 

The instructions to the reconnoitring officers might take 
the following form (see Sketch No. 15). 

Example No. 1. 

You are directed to reconnoitre the country in the 
area Listowel, Killamey, Mallow, Rathkeale, with a view 
to discovering : 

(a) The best line of retreat for the Red army if it is 
driven back from Kilmallock. 

(b) The best strategical position which can be taken up in 
order to again assume the offensive against the Blue army. 

2. The railway running west fi'om Tralee must at all 
times be covered, and roads must exist for supplying the 
army from that railway. It must be ascertained whether 
there is any locality on the line of retirement where the 
enemy will be compelled or may be induced to make de- 
tachments, either to cover his line of communication, or 
because sufficient roads are not available for his whole 
army, or for any other reason. 

3. Any tactical difficulties must be ascertained regarding 
the nature of the country — i.^., very hilly, enclosed, boggy, 
&c. ; and any administrative disadvantages, such as the 
local supply of water, forage, fuel, or the condition ot the 
roads, should be brought to light. 

4. Three officers and two motor-cars are placed at 
your disposal to assist in the reconnaissance. 

5. Your report must be handed in at army head- 
quarters at 5 P.M. on June 16. 



An officer receiving these instructions would know 



234 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

exactly what to do. He would study the map to discover 
where such a strategical position was likely to be found 
if the army retired along the northern, central, or southern 
roads in the area, and he would divide the work between 
himself and his three officers. 

III. The reconnaissance of a railway system, &c. 

The scheme described in the special ideas would not 
permit of an exercise under this heading, but if the opera- 
tions of the whole of the opposing forces north of the 
Galty mountains were being dealt with, a simple exercise 
would be available on the Blue side. The Blue com- 
mander, advancing across the river Suir, would be anxious 
to get at least one line of railway into working order as 
rapidly as possible. In the special idea. Blue, it is stated 
that the railway has been repaired as far as Ballybrophy 
Junction, and some other details are given. The question 
now arises whether it would be better to use the Roscrea- 
Limerick line, the Thurles-Kilmallock line, or the 
Thurles-Clonmel-Caher line. 

It would be necessary to give the reconnoitring officer 
a brief statement of the general intentions of the Blue 
commander, and then to inform him where he will find the 
railway destroyed. In war this would be discovered by 
reconnaissance, but in a peace exercise the destruction 
must be imagined. The Roscrea line would be too far off 
to visit during a Staff Ride, it would take too long to get 
there and back, but the scheme explained in the following 
instructions would prove an interesting problem {see Sketch 
No. 15). 

Example No. 2. 

1. The Blue army is about to advance and drive back 
the Red army towards Tralee. 

2. The Roscrea line is reported to be intact as far as 
Limerick, ainl thence towards Tipperary as far as Oola. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE ^35 
Between Oola and Limerick Junction all bridges have 
been destroyed, and Limerick Junction itself has been 
rendered useless, all points having been removed or blown 
up. The Ballybrophy-Limerick Junction line has a 
bridge destroyed at Thurles which the engineers are now 
repairing, and which will be in working order by June 22. 
Between Ba^.lagh and Limerick Junction all bridges are 
broken, the piers only remaining. The Fethard line has 
a bridge broken just south of the junction at Thurles, 
which it will take four days to repair. All bridges on 
this line are broken between Fethard inclusive and 
Clonmel exclusive, the piers having been dej^troyed also. 

3. You are required to reconnoitre these railways and 
prepare a scheme showing the best, quickest, and safest 
manner of bringing rail-head as near as possible to the 
army during its advance on Tralee. 

4. The road transport now in use from Ballybrophy 
Junction to Cashel brings in supplies daily for two divi- 
sions and one cavalry brigade ; the road transport from 
Kilkenny supplies the r.^mainder of the army. The greater 
part of this transport will be available for use from rail- 
head when the latter is nearer to the army. 

5. Two officers and one motor-car are placed at your 
disposal to execute the reconnaissance. Your report will 
be handed in at Tipperary at 5 p.m. on June 16. 



When working out the above scheme it would not only 
be necessary to compare the time required to repair the 
various lines. The strategical effect on the army of using 
the northern, central, or southern line, and the safety of 
each, would have to be considered. The great object 
would be to reduce the lengtli of road that had to be 
covered by wheeled transport, so that available roads 
leading from each line to the army must also be compared. 



236 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Two of the officers would probably go by train, and one 
in the motor, the latter being used for that part of the 
railway which it was difficult to reach by train. The 
officers must exercise their imagination as regards the 
bridges which are supposed to be destroyed, but sufficient 
data is given for them to work on. 

IV. Strategical and tactical reconnaissances. 

The situation described in the general and special ideas, 
Chapter V., Red, would afford an example of a reconnais- 
sance under this heading. The officer commanding the 
Red detachment which was sent towards Caher would 
require to know the strategical and tactical possibilities of 
the ground south and just east of the Galty mountains. 

The instructions for such a reconnaissance would com- 
mence with a statement of the strategical object, and then 
call attention to the various matters which would require 
particular investigation (see Sketch No. 15). 

Example No. 3. 

1. The Red detached force about Caher is required to 
compel the enemy to make a still larger detachment to 
the south or south-west, and thus weaken his main army, 
thereby affording our main army an opportunity of con- 
centrating a superior force against him, the greater part 
of the Red detachment being always ready to join its main 
army via Ballylanders. 

2. The Galty mountains on our left flank will be the 
chief means whereby the above strategical object can be 
gained. The operations of the Red detachment will 
probably take the following form : 

(a) iV strong position is now being occupied, north ot 
Caher, to compel the enemy to detach a large force to 
attack it. 

(b) When this attack develops, the Red detachment 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 237 

will fall back, endeavouring to draw after it as many 
hostile troops as possible. 

(c) Later on the Red detachment will assume the offen- 
sive to prevent Blue from merely observing it. 

(d) It will at all times be prepared to rejoin the main 
Red army via Ballylanders. 

3. You are required to reconnoitre the area Caher, 
Galty mountains, Mitchelstown, Knockmealdown moun- 
tains, Clogheen to the river Suir, and ascei-tain the best 
direction for the Blue detachment to fall back from Caher. 
You will discover suitable positions to occupy where 
defence is strong and offence is easy. 

4. You will pay special attention to the following points : 

(1) The protection afforded by the Galty mountains 
to the northern flank of the Blue detachment if it retires 
direct on Mitchelstown and Ballylanders. 

(2) The facilities for rejoining the main army if the 
country appears to favour a retirement southwards on 
the Knockmealdown mountains, and thus occupy a flank 
position against any hostile troops moving from Caher 
towards Mitchelstown. 

(3) The nature of the country from a tactical point of 
view, especially as regards the action of artillery, the 
possibility of seeing the enemy's movements at a distance, 
the facility for manoeuvring with all arms, and the state 
of the roads for supplies to be brought from Ballylanders 
or Mitchelstown. 

6. Two officers and one motor-car are placed at your 
disposal for this reconnaissance. 

6. Your report will be handed in to the head- 
quarters^ of the Red detachment at Caher at 5 p.m. on 
June. 16. 

V. The reconnaissance of an area purely for tactical 
purposes. 



238 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

An example of this will be found on the Red side (see 
Sketch No. 1). The officer commanding the Red detach- 
ment sent to Caher, having made the general strategical and 
tactical reconnaissance dealt with above under IV, would 
decide upon the direction of his retreat when he fell back 
from the vicinity of Caher. We will suppose that he has 
decided to retire direct towards Kilbeheny. He would then 
require detailed information regarding all tactical posi- 
tions which could be held between Caher, Kilbeheny, and 
the passes south and south-east of Ballylanders. 

This recoimaissance might be divided amongst two 
officers, one dealing with the country between Caher and 
Kilbeheny, both inclusive, where the Red detachment 
would be facing generally east, and the other between 
Kilbeheny and Ballylandere, where the detachment would 
be facing south. Similar instructions would be given to 
each officer, so we will deal with the first reconnaissance 
only, the instructions for which might take the following 
form : 

Example No. 4. 

1. In accordance with his instructions to threaten the 
enemy''s southern flank and compel him to detach a large 
force to guard it, the Red detached commander has decided 
to withdraw from Caher when heavily attacked and retire 
towards Kilbeheny, and, if necessary, over the passes towards 
Ballylanders. 

2. You are required to reconnoitre the country between 
Caher and Kilbeheny, and ascertain what positions exist 
which are suitable for occupation by the Red detachment 
under the following conditions : 

(a) To hold strongly if attacked by a superior force. 

(b) To advance and attack the enemy if the latter 
merely holds the Red detachment with a small containing 
force. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 239 

3. The line of retreat and supply by Kilbeheny or 
Mitchelstown to Ballylanders must always be covered ; 
alternative positions should be compared, and those which 
appear to be most suitable should be reported upon in 
detail {vide VI.). 

4. One officer and one motor-car are placed at your dis- 
posal to execute this reconnaissance. Your report will be 
handed in at Caher at 5 p.m. on 17th. 



The above reconnaissance would be more suitable for 
the third day of the Staff Ride, after the strategical and 
tactical reconnaissance described in IV. had been carried 
out on the second day. 

A reconnaissance under the same heading could be 
made by Blue officers on June 16, the second day of the 
Staff Ride. 

The Blue detached commander would be uncertain re- 
garding the strength of the Red force about Caher, and 
whilst armnging to carry out his instructions would take 
steps to ensure that if he was attacked by a superior force 
from Caher he would be ready to stand on the defensive. 
For this pui-pose he might order the following reconnais- 
sance on June 16 (see Sketch No. 1) : 

Example No. 5. 

1. ITie Blue detachment will assemble during the day 
north of Newinn, with a view to advancing on 17th to 
drive the Red troops from Caher. 

2. In the event of the enemy developing a superior 
force at Caher, you are directed to reconnoitre the area 
Golden, Cashel, Rose Green, and thence west to the Suir, 
and select a suitable defensive position, covering the 
Golden-Cashel main road, with the western flank pro- 
tected to some extent by the river Suir. 



240 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

3. One battalion and one squadron, line of communi- 
cation troops, have been ordered to occupy Golden and 
defend the bridge there. They will arrive early on 
June 17. 

4. One officer and one motor-car are placed at your 
disposal for this reconnaissance. Your report will be 
handed in at Tipperary at 5 p.m. on June 16. 



Most of the above reconnaissances of areas would form 
suitable tasks for the officer commanding the force. He 
is not usually called upon during the Staff Ride to write 
reports and make sketches, but the result of his work is 
apparent in the appreciations of the situation and in the 
orders which he prepares in the evening. It will be 
noticed that motor-cars are allotted to officers for the 
above schemes in a somewhat lavish manner. This has 
been done because it is a very lengthy operation to recon- 
noitre an area of country without a motor. It means that 
the whole area has to be divided up and each portion given 
to some officer. When this is done the bird's-eye view of 
the whole district, which it is important to obtain, is lost. 
Each officer considers his own little bit of ground impor- 
tant, and he selects positions, &c., which do not really fulfil 
the requirements of the case. 

The commander of the force is usually given a motor 
for himself and his staff, and therefore he is in a better 
position to carry out reconnaissance work of the above 
nature than the other officers. Of course, if motors are 
available, it is very good practice for other officers to 
execute these reconnaissances and for the commander to 
base his plans on the result of their work. 

Instructions for other work suggested in V. could be 
prepared in a similar manner. 

VI. Detailed reconnaissance, either tactical or adminis- 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 241 

trative, of a locality already roughly selected for the 
purpose in view. 

The majority of reconnaissance work done during a 
Staff Ride comes under this heading. The method of 
preparing the instinictions is similar to that already 
described, and it will be sufficient to give a few examples 
merely as a guide. 

A reconnaissance for attack, Red {see Sketch No. 1). 

Whilst the ground between Newin and Caher is still in 
the possession of the Red troops, it would be useful to 
reconnoitre any positions that a hostile containing force 
might occupy later with a view to attacking it. To 
produce good results it is necessary for the reconnoitring 
officer first of all to examine the position from the point 
of view of the defence, and ascertain how the enemy is 
likely to defend such a position. Having done that, he 
can turn his attention to the best manner of attack- 
ing it. 

This reconnaissance of ground with a view to attack 
whilst it is still in our possession is most useful, and is 
sometimes neglected both during a Staff Ride and in war. 

On the Red side we know that the commander intends 
to attack northwards on 17th if he is not himself 
attacked {vide paragraph 4, special idea. Red, page 116) ; 
it would be advisable, therefore, to reconnoitre the ground 
whilst he is still in possession of it. A similar recon- 
naissance would be desirable of any positions which the 
enemy might hold south-west of Caher after the Red 
detachment has retired and wishes again to attack. 

The instructions might take the following form : 

Example No. 6. 

1. In the event of the Blue commander marching 
west and leaving only a containing force to guard his 



242 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

communications, it will be necessary for the Red detach- 
ment to attack this force. 

2. In this case the enemy will probably occupy a 

defensive position in the vicinity of . You are 

directed to reconnoitre this position and report upon the 
best manner of attacking it. 

3. From a strategical point of view the enemy's west 
flank will be more vulnerable than his east flank, but the 
Suir river may prohibit any attack on his western flank. 

4. The river as an obstacle to guard the left flank of 
our attack and the suitability of the action of cavalry to 
guard our right flank or protect any turning movement 
should be considered. 

5. It should also be ascertained whether heavy guns 
placed on the north-east slopes of the Galty range on the 
right bank of the river Suir would be able to support the 
attack. 

6. Your report will be handed in at Caher at 5 p.m. on 
June 16. 

The following administrative reconnaissance would also 
be useful on the Red side : 

Example No. 7. 

1. Instructions have been received that after noon on 
17th the Red detachment at Caher will be supplied from 
Mitchelstown railway station. 

2. You are directed to reconnoitre this station and 
report on its suitability, stating what additions, altera- 
tions, and arrangements are necessary to enable the supply 
colunnis of tlu^ Red detachment to load up and convey 
supplies to the regimental supply waggons, and to form a 
clearing hospital which will arrive there by train at 8 a.m. 
on 1 7th for the use of the Red detachment at Caher. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 213 

3. You will also suggest methods for securing the 
safety of the supplies when they arrive, and for policing 
the town. 

A reconnaissance for signalling purposes is sometimes 
necessary. The Red commander at Caher might wityh to 
supplement his telegraph by establishing visual signalling 
between the two battalions on the Ballylanders Pass and 
his headquarters at Caher. The officer detailed for this 
work would be instructed to reconnoitre the country, 
select signalling stations, as^few as possible, decide how 
they could obtain food, water, and shelter, and in some 
cases how they should be protected. The inhabitants 
would be questioned as to the prevalence of fog or mist on 
the summit of the hills as compared with the lower spurs. 
If possible, the line of signalling stations should be near 
the line of the telegraph, so that any breaks in the latter 
could be rapidly repaired by the signallers. All posts 
must, of course, be carefully hidden from the enemy. 

A reconnaissance of the roads from Mitchelstown to 
Caher, with a view to selecting the best, for the transport 
of supplies. 

A reconnaissance for a defensive position to be occupied 
by the Red detachment on 16th. This reconnaissance 
in war would probably be made on 15th, but as an 
exercise it can be done on 16th. The instructions might 
take the following form : 

Example No. 8. 

1. The commander of the Red detachment has decided 

to occupy a defensive position roughly on the line , 

, . If he is not attacked on 17th, he will advance 

northwards from this position and attack any hostile troops 
that are encountered. 

2. The 7th cavalry brigade will detach one squadron to 



S44 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

watch the western flank of the position and patrol towards 
Tipperary and Golden ; the remainder of the brigade will 
guard the eastern flank of the position. 

3. The remainder of the Red detachment will be avail- 
able to defend the position. One infantry brigade should 
be held in general reserve. 

4. You are directed to reconnoitre this position, for- 
ward suggestions for its occupation, for the positions of 
the local and general reserves and for the artillery, the 
general scheme of infantry and artillery defence being 
carefully worked out. 

5. The position will also be studied from the point of 
view of an easy withdrawal in the event of the enemy 
developing a greatly superior force to attack it. In this 
case the Red commander intends to retire through Cahcr, 
drawing the enemy after him, and taking up another 
position facing east, to the west of Caher, or possibly 
along the river Suir. 

6. Tlie method of retiring across the Suir will also be 
considered, and the locality for the construction of extra 
bridges decided upon if necessary. 

7. Three officers are placed at your disposal ; one of these 
will be detailed for the work mentioned in paragraph 6. 

8. Your reports will be handed in at Caher at 5 p.m. on 
the 16th. 

Another useful reconnaissance in connection with the 
above would be to make all arrangements for battle 
administration. The position of the tent divisions of the 
field ambulances, having regard to the localities where the 
casualties will be heaviest, and the type of road or country 
to be traversed by the bearer divisions- — in fact, everything 
connected with the collection and conveyance of the 
wounded by the bearer divisions to the tent divisions, and 
their final disposal. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 245 

The instructions for this reconnaissance might take the 
following form : 

Example No. 9. 

1. You are directed to reconnoitre the ground in rear 
of the defensive position which is now being prepared on 

the line , , , and report on the best method 

of conducting the administration of the fighting troops 
during battle. 

2. You will suggest positions for the tent divisions of 
the field ambulances and of the cavalry field ambulance, 
having regard to localities where the casualties are likely 
to be heavy, and the type of road or country to be 
traversed by the bearer divisions when collecting and con- 
veying the wounded to the tent divisions. 

8. You will ensure that the wounded, the ammunition 
waggons, the reserves, and the horses going to water do 
not block up the various roads or tracks available. 

4. Arrangements should be made for collecting and 
clearing a larger number of casualties than the field 
ambulances can deal with. 

5. A clearing hospital has been established at Mitchels- 
town railway station. 

6. A position for the second line transport will also be 
selected, where it will be well clear of the fighting troops 
in the event of retreat, and sufficiently close to bring up 
supplies, blankets, &c., when required. 

7. You will also ascertain the best manner of establish- 
ing lateral signalling communication behind the line of 
battle and back to the second line transport. 

8. Your report to be handed in at Caher at 5 p.m. 
on 17th. 

It will be impossible for a reconnoitring officer to 
execute the above task until all decisions have been arrived 



246 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

at regarding the method of occupying the position. The 
position of the ammunition columns can hardly be decided 
by any one but the General officer commanding the artillery 
of the division. The remainder of the scheme of battle 
administration must depend on that and on the position 
of the reserves. If the position is likely to be occupied for 
more than one day, further instructions must be given to 
the reconnoitring officer regarding arrangements for the 
disposal of the dead, both men and horses, the supply of 
drinking water, fuel, and forage, the sanitation of the battle- 
field, and the possibility of obtaining materials for shelters. 

Similar reconnaissances for the officers on the Blue side 
could easily be arranged. 

The Blue conunander advancing south from Cashel on 
16th would encounter hostile outposts about Newinn. 
These haviiig been driven in, the enemy's main position 
might be disclosed, and it would be necessary to reconnoitre 
the ground for attack. The instructions to the reconnoi- 
tring officer might then take the following form : 

Example No. 10. 

1. The 18th division advancing south from Cashel, 
having driven back the enemy's outposts about Newinn, 
is now occupying a position of readiness in the vicinity 

of that town, with outposts on the line , , 

, in close contact with hostile troops. 

2. You are directed to reconnoitre the enemy's position 
so far as it can be seen from our outpost line, and suggest 
the best means of attacking it. 

3. The enemy's western flank is the weakest fi'om a 
strategical point of view, but the river Suir on that flank 
may prohibit any heavy attack on that side. 

4. You will pay particular attention to the various 
tactical points in front of and on the enemy's position. 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 247 

and discover how their successive capture will facilitate the 
defeat of the enemy and the advance of our own troops. 

5. Owing to the river Suir, which will protect the 
western flank of the attack, it is intended to mass the 
greater part of the cavalry on our eastern flank. 

6. A position should be selected for immediate 
occupation by a rear-guard, in the event of the enemy 
developing greatly superior numbers. His strength at 
present is believed to be inferior to our own, but this may 
be incorrect, and a retirement to a defensive position 
already selected about may become necessary. 

7. Two officers are placed at your disposal to assist in 
this reconnaissance. Your report will be handed in at 
Tipperary at 5 p.m. on 16th. 



Example No. 11, 

An administrative reconnaissance of the area mentioned 
in Example No. 5 could be carried out by Blue 
officers during June 16, to collect available supplies of 
food, forage, fuel, and local transport, and bring it 
into Cashel, where the regimental supply waggons could 
load up on June 17. It is better not to collect local sup- 
plies in the bivouac occupied by the fighting force, 
becaase it blocks up the roads, and if a sudden retirement 
is necessary the supplies are usually captured by the enemy. 
The instructions for such a reconnaissance should contain 
information as to how the supplies are to be collected, 
whether by local tranport obtained on the spot, or by 
military transport. An escort for the reconnoitring officer 
should be provided, of sufficient strength to enable him to 
detach men for the purpose of superintending the loading 
and conveyance of the supplies to Cashel. 



248 STAFF RIDKS AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The bivouacs and outposts of the Blue force for the night 
of 16th-17th could also be reconnoitred, because in real 
war there would be sufficient time to do it during the after- 
noon of 16th, after the Red outposts had been driven back. 

Instructions for these reconnaissances are suggested as 
follows : 

Example No. 1% 

1. You are required to select suitable bivouacs for the 
Blue force, covered by strong outposts. 

2. The position of the troops is as follows. Here 
would follow a description of where the various forces 
would be located, say, at 2 p.m. on 16th. 

Note : Instructions for this reconnaissance and that for 
the attack described previously might be prepared by the 
assistant director, because he would know the strength of 
the enemy, and could estimate roughly the course of events 
during the advance of the 18th division from Cashel on 
16th. The officers in each case could commence their 
reconnaissance in the morning, though in real war they 
would not be able to do so until the enemy's outposts had 
been driven back. 

3. The 4th brigade will arrive about — p.m. and will join 
the general reserve at . 

4. A fighting position for the troops in bivouac must 
be selected in the event of the enemy attacking at dawn. 
The outposts should cover this position, and, if necessary, 
part of it may be occupied by troops from the main body. 

5. One officer is placed at your disposal to assist in the 
reconnaissance. Your report will be handed in at Tipperary 
at 5 P.M. on 16th. 

Reconnaissances for administrative purposes can be 
ordered in the same manner as those suggested for the 
Red officers. If a reconnoitring officer knows what he 



INSTRUCTIONS FOR RECONNAISSANCE 249 

has to do, why the troops are to be employed in this 
manner, and is given any special instructions demanded 
by the situation, he should be in a position to produce 
valuable work ; otherwise he will fill his report with a lot of 
unnecessary detail and will not pay sufficient attention to 
the really important points. 

Enough has been written to explain the instructions 
which should be issued to reconnoitring officers, and we 
can now turn to the work which officers should be given 
during the evening. 

It is not very important to issue careful instructions to 
officers for their evening work. The assistant director is 
on the spot, and any officer who does not understand what 
is required from him can easily obtain verbal elucidation. 

In the particular Staff Ride we are discussing the 
following problems, in addition to the necessary orders 
and appreciations, would afford instructive work for the 
officers on the Red side. 

A scheme for supplying the Red detachment during the 
operations south of the Galty mountains. This would 
include the amount of food, forage, ammunition, &c., that 
it was desirable to collect at Mitchelstown station, or to 
bring closer to the Red force. Where the transport was 
to come from to convey these stores to the troops. The 
telegrams it would be necessary to despatch to bring these 
stores to Mitchelstown so as to arrive at the time they 
were required, and whom these telegrams would be sent to. 

A scheme for collecting intelligence from the inhabitants, 
even when their towns and villages are occupied by the 
enemy. The method of collecting this intelligence so that 
it is available in sufficient time to be used. What pay- 
ment is to be made for such work, any reliable system of 
signalling which can be established, &c. &c. 

The organisation of Mitchelstown as an advanced depot 
for the Red detached force, after it has been reconnoitred 



250 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

as previously suggested. A scheme for the collection of 
civilian labour to assist in the preparation of defensive 
positions between Caher and Kilbeheny, their organisation, 
payment, provision of the necessary tools, &c. 

A scheme for evacuating the tent divisions with the 
force, and the clearing hospital at Mitchelstown, of sick and 
wounded. The establishment of temporary local hospitals 
in the event of a large number of casualties, the type of 
building to be used for the purpose, the provision Ideally 
of medical practitioners, suitable beds, bedding, and all 
other requirements, so as to avoid depleting the field 
ambulances or the clearing hospitals. 

On the Blue side similar schemes could easily be found 
by consulting the list of examples given above under the 
headings VII. to XII. 

Notes on the method of criticising and working out 
these problems are contained in Chapters XIII. to XVI. 



CHAPITER XII 
THE METHOD OF PREPARING NARRATIVES 

A GOOD deal of the interest and instruction of a Staff 
Ride depends on the "narrative of events and summary of 
information ^ issued daily to the officers. 

It has been found by experience that, as a rule, only one 
narrative can be issued daily, and that the best hour for 
issue is after the officers have completed their work on the 
ground, generally about 5 p.m. The only exception to 
this rule is when one or both sides undertake night 
operations. A supplementary narrative must then be 
issued at 9 a.m. the following morning. In real war events 
occur and information comes in at all hours of the day 
and night, and the various commanders take action 
accordingly, but during a Staff* Ride it is impracticable, 
and perhaps even undesirable, to attempt to practise this 
method. It would require constant refei'ence between the 
director, who alone knows the situation on each side, and 
the assistant directors. Instead of working on the ground, 
the commanders on each side must stay in one place, the 
troops are not present, and the Staffs Ride would become a 
sort of war game on the ground. Every one knows the 
delays which occur during a war game where the opposing 
officers are in two rooms close together, and where the 
director is also close by. If this war game is transferred 
to the ground the delay in communication will be much 
greater. Officers would be waiting for hours for the various 



252 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

decisions, and meantime would have nothing to do. During 
manoeuvres this system can be practised, because the troops 
are on the ground and the numerous umpires can give 
immediate decisions regarding local events, but even at 
manoeuvres it is generally necessary to issue each evening 
a narrative of events, so that the next day's operations can 
be continued in a realistic manner. 

During a Staff Ride there are no troops, and there is no 
necessity for any troops, because the duties of commanders 
and of staff* officers deal chiefly with orders and arrange- 
ments which have to be made before the troops act. The 
object should be to produce a series of situations, each 
situation being issued at 5 p.m. daily ; the officers will deal 
with these situations, and with nothing else. A tactical 
exercise on the ground, without troops, is conducted in 
exactly the same manner, as will be shown in Chapter 
XVIII. , except that the various situations are issued at 
short intervals of time. 

The most common' errors in a narrative are failure to 
describe in sufficient detail the events which have occurred, 
and the omission of important information which a com- • 
mander would be certain to obtain in real war. Some 
imagination is required in the preparation of these naiTa- 
tives, and all rulings and decisions must be purely arbitrary. 
The director when making his decisions should consider 
the military situation and the nature of the gi'ound. His 
main object should be to check the rapid movements, 
either by rail or in front of the enemy, which are frequently 
suggested by the commanders. He should penalise 
mistakes, by recording heavy casualties and by deciding 
that impossible or badly prepared attacks have failed. It 
is most important that officers should not be allowed to do 
things on a Staff* Ride which they would not even suggest 
in real war, otherwise the instruction will do more harm 
than good. The most common mistakes that are made in 



THE METHOD OF PREPARING NARRATIVES 253 

the conduct of the operations by the commanders on a 
Staff Ride are : 

(1) Extraordinary speed in embarking, disembarking, 
and moving troops by rail. 

(2) Extraordinary speed in marching troops from one 
part of a theatre of war or of a battle-field to another. 

(3) Hazardous movements in front of an enemy, without 
special arrangements for securing the safety of the operation. 

(4) Absence of arrangements for supplying the troops 
with food or ammunition, or for the care of the wounded. 

(5) Ambiguous or incomplete orders. 

(6) A false strategical or tactical conception of the 
situation, involving plans which are opposed to the prin- 
ciples of war. 

(7) A tendency to assume a more favourable situation 
than that described in the scheme. 

It is not sufficient to call attention to these mistakes 
when dealing with the work ; it is essential when preparing 
-the narrative that they should be emphasised by recording 
failure. War is an illusive science, and it is easy to bring 
forward specious arguments to show that some wild scheme 
is perfectly sound. It is even possible to cjuote incidents 
of history in support of the arguments, but during a Staff 
Ride it is best to assume the most difficult situation in each 
case, and thus approach more closely to the ordinary con- 
ditions of war. 

There is no doubt that on some occasions in actual war 
the troops have been embarked, disembarked, marched, 
and manoeuvred with extraordinary speed and temerity ; 
but these occasions are rare, and are invariably accompanied 
by excellent staff arrangements, a great conmiander, and 
first-class troops. In ordinary war something usually goes 
wrong: there are delays in administration, the issue of 
orders, and in their execution ; and it is probably a good 
plan to multiply by two the time suggested in any 



254 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

paper calculation for the actual completion of an 
operation. 

A Staff* Ride is pre-eiuiuently an exercise in command 
and staff* work, and as such the difficulties which arise in 
war should not be slurred over or minimised, but, on the 
contrary, they should be brought prominently to the front, 
so that officers may learn how to deal with and overcome 
them. 

One narrative must be issued daily to each side. As in 
the special ideas, this narrative should contain no informa- 
tion which a commander is unlikely to possess in real war. 
A clear statement of the operations and the exact position 
of the troops at night should be included. Any unit 
which had been forgotten in the original orders should be 
shown in the narrative at the place where it was before 
the orders were issued, and the commander should not be 
allowed to use that unit till sufficient time has elapsed for 
the troops concerned to move to the place assigned to them. 

It will be necessary for the director's staff* to check most* 
carefully the orders and administrative arrangements made 
by each connnander, to discover if every unit in the force 
would know what to do and where to go. When the 
troops were last fed, where the food came from, how the 
forage for the horses was obtained, what reserve of supplies 
still existed in the regimental supply waggons, the supply 
colunms, and supply park. How much amnmnition had 
been expended, and how it was to be replaced. What was 
being done with the wounded, and whether it had been 
necessary to leave behind a battalion or brigade to take 
care of them, just as Napoleon was compelled to leave a 
whole division at Ligny. 

It is only in this way that the commanders and staff' 
officers on a Staff* Jlide can be induced to pay proper 
attention to war administration. Every one is interested 
in the strategy and tactics of the Ride, but administration 



THE METHOD OF PREPARING NARRATIVES 255 

is dull work. Yet in war this dull work is the very 
essence of success. Wellington is reported to have said 
that he might not be a good General, but he was sure that 
he was an excellent commissariat officer. If we study past 
campaigns and battles we find failure in administrative 
work far more frequently than in strategy or tactics. The 
books say little about administration, because many readers 
would not be interested in it ; we find, in consequence, 
that whilst volumes are devoted to strategy and tactics, 
pages only are devoted to administration, though the latter 
is the very life and soul of the former. 

The narrative should commence with an account of the 
events which had occurred during the day, and then give 
the position of all the troops and, so far as it would be 
likely to be known, the strength and position of the hostile 
forces. A statement of the information received during 
the day should then be appended. This statement will 
demand the exercise of a good deal of ingenuity and 
imagination on the part of the directing staff. If we 
endeavour to gain assistance from examples in real war, 
we shall find that the reports received during the day by a 
commander who is actually engaged with the enemy are 
so numerous that we cannot attempt to reproduce them in 
the naiTative. We must content ourselves, therefore, with 
a sort of bird's-eye view of the whole of the information 
which the commander would be likely to receive, in similar 
circumstances, in war. Some of this information may be 
false or misleading, just as it is in war ; some may be very 
vague both as to time, place, and numbers ; and some may 
be accurate. 

The object is to give the commander an interesting 
problem to work out for the next day's operations, and not 
to attempt to reproduce the numerous messages he would 
receive in war. 

It is, of course, impossible to prepare a narrative with- 



256 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

out consulting the orders written the night before by each 
commander, but the imaginary narratives given below are 
based on a situation which might arise on the evening of 
June 17, during the Tipperary* Staff Ride. A certain 
number of mistakes and omissions in the orders and 
administrative arrangements of each commander are 
assumed, to show how they may be penalised in the 
narrative. 

It is impossible to say what the situation at 5 p.m. on 
17th would be without knowing the orders of each com- 
mander on 15th and 16th, but for the purposes of our 
example we will assume that on 16th the Blue detached 
force drove back the Red outposts, and occupied Newinn, 
the Blue cavalry gaining Clerahan. On 17th Blue 
attacked the Red force, and the Red commander, believ- 
ing that two divisions were opposed to him, commenced to 
withdraw through Caher directly the Blue main attack 
developed, and left the Suir bridges at Caher intact. 
The Red commander then took up a position about two 
and a half miles west of Caher, facing north-east, ready to 
attack Blue on 18th. The Blue force occupied Caher, 
with outpost on the right bank of the Suir, in touch with 
Red outposts. 

Narkative of Events and Summary of Intelligence. 
Up to 5 P.M. on June 17. 
RED. 

1. At 4 A.M. on 17th the Red detached force was 
heavily attacked in its position north of Caher. The Red 
commander, believing the Blue force to be greatly superior 
in numbers, (commenced to withdraw towards Caher, leav- 
ing one infantry and one artillery brigade to cover the 
retirement. 

2. The second line transport of the Red force, which 
on IGth had been kept close in rear of the position, had 



THE MfeTHOD OF PREPARING NfARRATlVES 2o7 

received no orders the preceding evening to retire ; conse- 
quently they blocked the retreat of the Red troops, and it 
became necessary to gain the required delay by reinforcing 
the rear-guard with another infantry and another artillery 
brigade. 

3. By 4 P.M. the whole of the Red force had withdrawn 
across the Suir at Caher, except the field ambulance 
attached to the brigade originally on rear-guard. This 
field ambulance had opened just north of Caher, but it had 
received no orders to retire, and did not discover that the 
whole force had withdrawn till it was too late. 

4. The cavalry brigade retired on Arfinnan, which 
they are now holding. They report that they were 
opposed during the day by a superior force of hostile 
cavalry, but were able to hold their own until the with- 
drawal of the infantry compelled them to fall back. 
They are now opposed to hostile cavalry north-east and 
east of Ardfinnan, the squadron at Newcastle being in 
contact with hostile patrols. 

5. The enemy occupied Caher about 4.B0 p.m., and 
pushed outposts across the Suir. Meanwhile the Red 

force had occupied a position extending from to , 

with the 22nd infantry brigade and one artillery bri- 
gade on the right, the 23rd infantry brigade and one 
artillery brigade on the left, and the remainder of the 
division in reserve. The Red outposts, furnished by the 
22nd brigade, are occupying the line , , . 

6. No arrangements were made by the 23rd brigade on 
16th for filling up the empty supply waggons. The supply 
columns are now at Clogheen, in accordance with the 
orders of the G.O.C. Red force. The 23rd brigade have, 
therefore, no rations for 17th. 

7. Information has been received from the inhabitants 
that the enemy'^s force advancing on Caher consists of two 
infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade. Look-out men 



^58 gtAFF RIDPLS AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

posted with telescopes on the eastern ridges of the Galty 
mountains, report that they have seen three infantry 
brigades and a lot of artillery moving down the Newinn- 
Caher road during the afternoon, and estimate the enemy'^s 
force at one division. 

8. An officer who was taken prisoner during the action 
managed to escape : he swam the Suir, and reports that the 
enemy are delighted with their success ; they believe there 
is only one Red brigade in front of them. He states 
further that they have got at least two brigades and 
probably a division, but he does not think they have more. 

9. A message from an officer's patrol sent on 16th to 
Bansha reports that at 1 p.m. a column of troops about 
five miles long passed through Kilfeakle between 12 noon 
and 2 p.m., marching towards Tipperary. A telegram from 
the commander of the Red main army states that there is 
every indication that the enemy's main army is moving east, 
and that only a small Blue detachment is left at Caher. 

10. Bivouacs for the Red force have been arranged as 

follows : 22nd brigade at , 23rd brigade at ,&c. &c. 

The cavalry brigade has one regiment on the left bank of 
the Suir, covering the Ardfinnan bridges, and one squadron 
at Newcastle, also on the left bank. Remainder on the 
right bank at Ardfinnan. One squadron on the eastern 
slopes of the Galty mountains north-west of Caher, in 
contact with hostile patrols from Caher. 

11. The Red casualties during the day amount to 175 
men, including 53 prisoners who were captured during the 
retirement. 

Naurative of Events and Summary of Intelligence. 

Up to 5 P.M. on June 17. 

BLUE. 

1. The 18th division, 45th brigade, and 9th cavalry 
brigade attacked the enemy^s position north of Caher at 



THE METHOD OF PREPARING NARRATIVES 259 

4 A.M. on June 17. The position at first appeared to be 
weakly held, but at about 6 a.m. strong reinforcements 
arrived. About noon it became apparent that the enemy 
were retiring; the attack was pressed and the position 
carried by 2.30 p.m. 

2. The 52nd infantry brigade and the 22nd field 
artillery brigade were at once sent forward to pursue the 
enemy, seize the bridges at Caher, and occupy a position 
on the right bank of the Suir covering the bridges. 

3. The cavalry brigade report that they have been 
opposed by superior hostile cavalry throughout the day, 
but that when the enemy's infantry withdrew from the 
position north of Caher the Red cavalry also fell back 
and occupied the ground round Ardfinnan, where they 
were reinforced by infantry and artillery. Newcastle was 
also held by Red cavalry or infantry. One squadron has 
been detached to Newcastle, and the remainder of the 
brigade is in contact with the enemy north-west of 
Ardfinnan, but are unable to drive them back. 

4. In accordance with the orders of the 16th, the 
cavalry field ambulance has been left with the second 
line transport at Rosegreen, and there is no means of 
collecting and disposing of the wounded. 

5. The supply waggons of the 18th division were 
ordered to proceed to Cashel at 6 a.m. on 17th and 
fill up from the supply columns at that place and await 
orders. They are still there, as no order was given for 
their return. A small supply column which was sent with 
the 45th brigade, capable of carrying one day's supply for 
the brigade, filled up at Cashel during the 17th, and is 
now at Newinn as ordered. 

6. At 5 p.m. a telegram anived from the commander of 
the main Blue army directing the G.O.C. 18th division to 
leave the 45th brigade, one brigade of artillery, and one 
regiment of cavalry to contain the Red force west of 



260 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Caher, and with the remainder of his detached force to 
march to Tipperary on 18th and join the main army, 
which was concentrating right and left of Emiy station 
with a view to attacking the main Red army on 19th. 

7. The inhabitants at Caher state that the enemy 
have got a complete division and " a lot of cavalry .''^ Some 
Red officers were heard saying that they were to march 
back to Mitchelstown to-night. Other inhabitants of 
Caher state that the whole of the troops that passed 
through the town during the day are halted in a defensive 
position about 2 J miles to the west, and that about 500 
civilians have been employed during the last few days in 
digging trenches on this position. The Red balloon is 
still up about 2^ miles west of Caher. 

8. The exact position of the Blue force at 5 p.m. is as 
follows: 5^nd infantry brigade, ^Snd field artillery 
brigade, and the divisional squadrons are occupying a 
position on the right bank of the Suir, extending from 

to , with outposts now being placed on the 

line , , . The 54th infantry brigade and 24th 

field artillery brigade are just east of Caher. The remainder 
of the Blue force is about one mile north of Caher. 

9. Bivouacs for the Blue force have been arranged as 
follows : Then add a list of suitable places for each 
brigade, &c. 

10. The Blue casualties during the day have amounted 
to 115 men. 

It must be remembered that the above is purely ficti- 
tious, and written without any particular attention to tlie 
probable orders which would have been issued by the Red 
and Blue commanders on the evening of 16th. It is 
merely intended to show the class of thing that is required. 
It will be seen that the original moves on each side depend 
entirely upon the orders issued by the opposing com- 



THE METHOD OF PREPARING NARRATIVES 26) 

manders, but the course of events after this must be 
improvised by the director, his decisions being amved at 
by a consideration of what would be likely to occur in a 
similar situation in real war. 

On the Red side it has been assumed that a hazardous 
operation of war, a withdrawal in face of a heavy attack, 
has been decided upon by the commander without sufficient 
arrangements having been made to ensure its success. The 
difficulties which would be likely to arise have therefore 
been inserted in the narrative. 



CHAPTER XIII 

SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK AND 
FOR CONDUCTING CONFERENCES 

The object of criticising the work is not to show how 
much more the instructor knows about the subject than 
the officer who is trying to learn, but simply to inculcate 
sound principles of strategy, tactics, and administration. 
If ill the opinion of the instructor a thing is badly done, 
an argument based on false premises, or a plan constructed 
on faulty lines, the reason why it is bad should be stated, 
and a more correct method suggested. If, on the other 
hand, the work is good, the reason why it is good should 
also be indicated. 

An officer who is told one day that his work is bad, a^id 
a few hours later that it is good, when no reason is given 
for either statement, does not learn much from his efforts ; 
whereas he will learn a great deal if he is placed in a posi- 
tion to compare the good work with the bad, and thus 
discover what methods to adopt and what to avoid in the 
future. If we consult a dictionary we shall find that the 
word " criticism " has two distinct meanings : first, " the 
art of judging with knowledge and propriety of the 
beauties and faults of a performance'"; and, secondly, 
"animadversion or censure.'" It is the first meaning of 
the word that the instructor should adopt if he wishes 
that his remarks §hould bear fruit. Of course it is very 
easy merely to say that a thing is good or bad, but it 
requires a careful study of the work to say why it is good 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 268 

or bad. When looking over work that has been criticised 
during a Staff* Ride, we sometimes find no remarks at all 
on the work itself, but at the end some one has written : 
" a good report,^ " a carefully worked out scheme," " the 
method of using the cavalry appears to be open to criti- 
cism," &c. It is quite evident to the officer who receives 
these remarks that the instructor is either too busy to look 
over the work, or that, having looked it over, he has no 
remarks, either good or bad, to offer. When this is the 
case it can hardly be said that the instruction is very good 
or that the Staff* Ride is worth the money expended on it. 
It might appear from the above that the whole onus of 
responsibility regarding the instruction imparted lies with 
the directing staff, but this is not the case. No one can 
fail to be impressed by the keenness displayed by officers 
of all arms to learn something about their profession, but 
it is only human nature for them to prefer praise to blame. 
Both, however, are valuable, the praise because it encour- 
ages officers to do even better, and the blame, because if 
rightly applied it teaches them what to avoid in future. 
In most cases officers are sufficiently broad-minded to accept 
and profit by both the praise and the blame, but there is 
sometimes a firebrand in the party who can do nothing 
wrong, and will not allow for a moment that any adverse 
criticism which is made on his work is correct. Fortu- 
nately these officers are rare, but they cause a good deal of 
trouble to the already overworked directing staff*, and are 
worthy of mention. They are generally people who are 
very good at argument, and it is a source of joy to them 
when they succeed in defeating the instructor ; not because 
their arguments are sound — they are generally the reverse 
— but because the hard-worked assistant director is not 
gifted with great conversational powers, or because he 
knows that if he devotes half an hour to an endeavour to 
convince a man who has not the remotest intention of 



264 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

being convinced, he will have deprived the remainder df 
the officers of half an hour's work which is likely to produce 
useful results. 

It is advisable, therefore, for an instructor to avoid such 
unprofitable arguments, and for the officers under instruc- 
tion to realise that the instructor may be very bad, but 
that he knows a little more about the subject than they 
do ; he is doing his best, and in consequence is worthy of 
some consideration. Some very good instructors with far 
more knowledge of the subject than the " firebrand **' can 
easily defeat him in any argument, but this again is un- 
desirable. It is a waste of time, and it is apt to bring 
about a disturbing element into what should be a calm 
and peaceful discussion of the subject. 

There is another class of officer who eiTs on the other 
side : he receives some censorious remarks, which he knows 
are hardly just, but he is too easy-going, or perhaps too 
diffident, to urge his case. Instructors are not infallible : 
they are, or should be, always ready to say if they have 
made a mistake ; and an argument brought about in this 
manner is usually very profitable. The officer has taken 
one view of a case and the instructor another : both may 
be right, both may be wrong, or one may be right and the 
other wrong. It is evident that a question which is open 
to so many solutions is worthy of discussion, and even if 
at the end of it half the officers are of one opinion and 
half are of another, all will have heard both sides of the 
question and probably will have learnt a good deal. 

There is little doubt that all officers have a considerable 
sense of judgment where the details of a tactical operation 
are under discussion. For the moment they may refuse to 
allow even to themselves that they are wrong, but the 
sound common-sense teaching sinks in. They forget in 
time that they once held different views on a certain 
matter, but the right views remain, and on a subsequent 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 265 

occasion they will bring forward these latter ideas with 
absolute conviction. 

In all forms of teaching, destructive criticism should go 
hand . in hand with instruction, otherwise it is useless. It 
should be remembered that the solution of a military prob- 
lem depends so much upon the personal factor, namely, 
the determination and ability of the commander and his 
subordinates, on the available information, the valour and 
reliability of the troops, the moral of the enemy, the 
features of the country, and on other matters of a similar 
nature, that no definite rules can be laid down beforehand 
to assist the officers in the performance of their work. 

When we are called upon to criticise, we should first 
ascertain the intentions of the officer and the arguments 
he used, or the evidence he has brought forward to sup- 
pork his plan. We should then make sure that these in- 
tentions, arguments, &c., are radically wrong before making 
any advei-se comments. We should avoid jumping at 
conclusions, usually the result of a perfunctory study of 
the work. We should endeavour, first, to discover what 
is good in the work, comment upon that, and then, after 
indicating the portion which is open to honest objection, 
suggest a more suitable scheme. 

The chief thing to aim at, when criticising work, is to 
select the really important points which would lead direct 
towards success or failure in war. Generalities should be 
avoided, because, though they are easy to write down, 
they carry little weight, mean less, and can frequently be 
defeated without trouble. Severe blame should be re- 
served, not for bad work, but for what is evidently care- 
lessness. Carelessness in war, on the part of any com- 
mander or staff officer, is the one unpardonable and deadly 
error. We all do bad work when we commence to learn a 
trade, and improvement depends chiefly on the errors 
being pointed out in an amiable manner and explanations 



266 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

afFoi*ded as to what ought to be done. Severe censure on 
bad work, when the officer has done his best, only tends 
to dishearten him. It is, however, wicked to expect an 
overworked director or assistant director to spend more 
time and trouble over a piece of work carelessly performed 
than has been devoted to it by the officer himself. 

When suggesting alternative courses, or improvements 
in the work, the directing staff should never lose an oppor-r 
tunity of bringing forward some principle contained in 
the official books of instruction. However highly trained 
an officer may be, his opinions do not, or should not, 
carry the same weight as the publications carefully and 
exhaustively thought out by the highest militaiy autho- 
rities. There is even a greater reason why attention 
should be paid to this matter. The opinions of one 
officer frecjuently differ from those of another, whereas the 
opinion or principle expressed in the official book remains 
the same until it is changed by the competent military 
authority. Officers are constantly receiving instruction 
from different sources, and if one day they are told one 
thing and another day are given totally opposite views, 
they will not know what to believe, or what to apply when 
the enemy is in front of them. 

As each piece of work is criticised, the assistant director 
should take notes of any point which he considers would 
form an instructive subject for discussion at the confer- 
ence. In Chapters XIV. to XVI. efforts have been made 
to describe some of the errors that are frequently made 
in the work done by officers during a Staff Ride, and to 
indicate the best manner of approaching the various prob- 
lems. These chapters may be of assistance both to the 
directing staff and to the officers under instruction. They 
are necessarily v«gue, because each problem must be dealt 
with according to the factors affecting its solution and the 
local requirements. These are so numerous and varied 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 267 

that it is impossible to indicate anything more than the 
method of approaching each class of work and the pitfalls 
that should be avoided. 

When examining work and preparing notes for the con- 
ference, there is no occasion for an assistant director to 
suggest an alternative plan merely for the sake of adopt- 
ing an opposite view to that suggested by the officer. 
There is generally more than one course open to a com- 
mander or staff officer, and frequently the respective value 
of each is a matter of opinion rather than of principle. 
The commander can only adopt one plan, and if it is 
fairly sound he should be given due credit for suggesting it. 
There is no occasion for the assistant director to propose 
an alternative plan merely to avoid agreeing with the 
officer and thus obtaining an opportunity to criticise him. 
It is, however, desirable to suggest an alternative plan if 
it is obviously better than the one brought forward, or if 
thereby an instructive discussion is likely to arise. 

Directing officei's, having seen the special ideas on each 
side, are apt sometimes to get a fixed conviction as to 
how a thing should be done. It is then somewhat difficult 
for them to appreciate the difficulties of an officer who has 
seen only one side. If directing officers could put out of 
their minds all knowledge of what the other side was doing, 
they might find that the commander's plan was better than 
their own to meet every possibility, though it was not so 
good to deal with the particular course which the directing 
officer would know had been adopted by the enemy. 
Attention to this matter is desirable, otherwise directing 
officers may bring forward doubtful arguments in support 
of their own idea. 

The evening conference is sometimes looked upon as a 
bugbear by assistant directors. It would be wrong to 
suggest that the reason for this is because they do not 
feel competent to hold them. The true reason probably 



/ 



268 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

lies in the fact that though they have plenty of interesting 
points to bring forward they have had no practice in 
expressing their ideas in public. It freciuently occurs that 
a man of few words after a little practice is able to 
conduct far more instructive conferences than a voluble 
speaker. In the first case the officers will at least have a 
chance of stating their own views, and in the other they 
may not. The naturally taciturn individual when he does 
open his lips usually speaks to the point and is more 
worth listening to than the fluent orator. At the same 
time it is undesirable when from self-consciousness or 
other cause the assistant director creates a painful feeling 
akin to compassion amongst his audience. The best way 
to overcome any difficulties of this nature is to run through 
the notes before the conference, say what we have got to 
say, and nothing more. Any padding is out of place. 

For example, we will suppose that an officer has prepared 
a scheme for the attack of a position and the assistant 
director has made the following notes on his work : The 
arrangements made for the frontal attack were good, 
because no more troops were employed than were absolutely 
necessary, the importance of capturing certain tactical 
points in front of the enemy'^s position was clearly indicated, 
and arrangements were made to bring superiority of 
artillery and infantry fire against those points. Part of 
the cavalry were quite rightly sent to guard the east flank 
of the attack, because a hostile counter-stroke on that side 
either by infantry or cavalry, though unlikely, might have 
seriously affected the battle administration of the attack. 
It is doubtful, however, whether one squadron would not 
have been sufficient, especially if it had been used for 
distant patrolling to give early warning of any danger, 
and thus afford time for the local reserve on that flank to 
move up and meet it. Every cavalry soldier was required 
on the west flank, where the main attack was to be delivered 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 269 

and where the enemy''s cavalry appeared to be in some 
force. 

It was quite right to make the main attack against the 
west flank of the position. There appeared to be no serious 
obstacles to break up the organisation of the attack, and 
at the same time the midulations of the ground and the 
small tactical points gave cover for the advancing troops 
and afforded effective rallying-points. The outer flank 
of this flank attack could be well guarded by the cavalry, 
as the ground was suitable for the action of that arm, as 
stated in the report. 

There was, however, a dangerous gap left unguarded 
between the inner flank of the main attack and the frontal 
attack, and it is possible that a hostile counter-stroke could 
have been delivered with success either against the inner 
flank of the main attack or the west flank of the frontal 
attack. The orders issued to the cavalry and the scheme 
of artillery co-operation in the attack were excellent. The 
cavalry were first required to cover the front of the main 
attack until the troops got into the required position, and 
were then drawn off to the west flank. Possibly it would 
be difficult in war to carry out this last manoeuvre, but 
perhaps a cavalry officer will give us his opinion on that 
point later. The artillery were so arranged that a heavy 
fire could be opened on the front of the enemy'^s position, 
still retaining power of movement to closely support the 
main attack during its final stages. Above|all a cross-fire of 
artillery against the enemy ''s flank, where the main attack 
was to be delivered, was most skilfully arranged. 

Of course these notes are purely fictitious, and would 
not usually be prepared verbatim, but somewhat in the 
following form : 

Frontal attack good. Sufficient troops and no more. 
Capture of tactical points, and arrangement for aiiillery 
and infantry superiority against them. Cavalry. East 



270 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

flank guarded, good, especially in case of counter-stroke, 
but perhaps too strong. Cavalry urgently required on 
west, outer flank of main attack. Main attack. Right 
to select western flank, suitable ground, undulating for 
cover, and small tactical points for rallying. Outer flank 
could be guarded by cavalry where ground was favourable. 
Dangerous gap between frontal and main attack, liable to 
counter-stroke. Orders to cavalry good, covered prelimin- 
aries of main attack and then drew to a flank. Orders to 
artillery excellent. Heavy fire to support frontal attack, 
power of movement, cross-fire on main attack. 

It is a great advantage to work from notes like the 
above, because then the director must " speak **' his remarks 
and not read them. Those who have watched an audience 
listening to a discourse which is being read will have 
observed how every one immediately sits up and begins to 
listen when the dull monotony of the best reader is changed 
even to the halting sentences of the worst speaker. 

There is no object in rushing through the notes ; there 
can be a sufficient ])ause between each subject to enable 
the assistant director to read his next note and frame the 
next sentence. These pauses are an advantage, because it 
enables the slow-thinking mind, as well as the more 
ephemeral intellect of the keen-witted, to take in what 
has just been said. For example, when the instructor has 
dealt with " sufficient troops and no more," he can stop 
and look for his next note, " capture of tactical points, &c.,**^ 
and so on throughout the conference. 

The inflexion of the voice and the manner of expressing 
our views are matters worth attention. A dull, monoto- 
nous tone has a soporific effect on the audience, and the 
remarks carry little weight. Everything that is said 
should bear a tone of conviction, as though the speaker 
had no doubt about the truth of it. A hesitating and 
apologetic manner of imparting instruction is never very 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 271 

effective. A tone implying that '* the book says you ought 
to do this, but it is difficult to agree with it," should also 
be avoided. It is all very well at the Staff College or 
during big Staff* Rides to discuss and perhaps even dis- 
parage what is said in the books, but to many officers 
these books of training are, or should be, their sheet 
anchor ; and if we minimise their value we not only strike 
at the foundation of their knowledge, but we also lay our- 
selves open to the accusation that we know better than 
the book, and it is more than doubtful if that is the case 
with any of us. After each little point an inquiring 
glance can be thrown at the author of the work, in case he 
wishes to say anything, but if an officer has proved to be 
very loquacious it is best not to offer this opening. If, on 
the other hand, the officers cannot be got to express their 
views, then they should be asked some question which 
requires an answer. For example, " Why did you send 
two squadrons to the eastern flank of the attack ? " — this 
of course being said before the director has made any 
remarks on the subject. The officer will not know whether 
the director thinks he was right or wrong to do so, conse- 
quently he will be able to give an unbiassed opinion. An 
hour, or an hour and ten minutes, is quite long enough for 
a conference to last. A conference differs somewhat from 
a lecture, in that the officers have a chance of putting in 
a word here and there. This relieves the monotony and 
makes the time pass more quickly. 

It is very important that no officer is held up to ridicule 
during the conference. It serves no good purpose, though 
on occasions there is a great temptation to do it, espe- 
cially when dealing with the " firebrand " previously referred 
to. It raises a more or less personal dispute between the 
assistant director and the officer concerned, which can only 
di*^turb the harmony of the meeting. It is also undesir- 
able to sharpen one^s wits at the expense of the officer 



272 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

when criticising his work. Some assistant directors may 
be very quick at seeing the ludicrous side of an argument 
or statement, but officers who have been working hard and 
doing their best do not like to be laughed at. This type 
of criticism usually reacts on the instructor himself, 
because his comments lose weight, and the sympathy 
between himself and the officers, which is a valuable asset 
of instruction, is greatly diminished. 

At the end of the conference the assistant director 
should remain in the room for half an hour or so, because 
sometimes the conference proper begins at this stage 
of the proceedings. Officers who would not express 
their views in front of the other officers will come up 
and give possibly excellent reasons why they adopted 
some coui*se of action which has been criticised. An 
instructive discussion will follow : other officers, released 
from the restraint of the formal conference, will take 
sides in the argument, and the assistant director 
as well as the officers themselves will learn a good 
deal. If he is not good at it already, the assistant 
director will learn how to sustain an argument, but 
above all he will leai*n how to hold a conference in the 
future. 

Conferences on the ground during a tactical exercise are 
perhaps more difficult to conduct than a c(mference in the 
evening. During the former the assistant director does 
not know what surprises in the way of military conundrun^s 
are going to be sprung upon him, whereas during the latter 
the whole situation has been carefully studied ; the as- 
sistant director has learnt a good deal from the various 
views expressed in their work by the different officers, and 
he is consequently fortified with numerous arguments. 
In fact, when dealing with such work as the appi-eciation 
of a situation the assistant director, after he has read all 
the. officers'* papers, would be well up in the subject so far 



SUGGESTIONS FOR CRITICISING WORK 273 

as argument was concerned, even if he had no idea how to 
write an appreciation himself. 

The method of conducting a conference on the ground is 
indicated in Chapter XVIII. Briefly speaking, the assistant 
director, after issuing a situation should carefully examine 
the ground and consider the various courses of action which 
can be adopted. If it is an attack, would it be better to 
throw the greatest force against the centre, left, ov right 
of the position occupied by the enemy ? Each should be 
compared with the other, asnd reasons should be forth- 
coming to show why it would be better to adopt one 
course in preference to another. If it is the defence of a 
position which is being studied, and no situations are issued, 
the director can deal with the matter by discussing each 
possible solution. Shall we put the infantry behind this 
bank ; is there a good field of fire ; can they be enfiladed ; 
are they unduly exposed to hostile artillery fire ; can they be 
reinforced and supplied with ammunition ; do they mask 
the artillery fire of the defence ? The artillery and cavalry 
can be dealt with in a similar maimer. By this means 
the various alternatives can be studied : officers can be 
asked to give their views ; and finally the director can 
state what he considers would be the best solution of the 
problem, and give his reasons. 



CHAPTER XIV 

GENERAL NOTES ON THE WORK DONE BY 
OFFICERS DURING A STAFF RIDE 

A. — A Study of How to White an Appreciation 
OF A Situation. 

All command and staff work in the field should be pre- 
pared, written, and aiTanged so that it can be easily 
absorbed. The true test of excellence does not lie in the 
comprehensive nature of the work, clearness of writing, 
and accuracy of detail, though all these are important, but 
in the simple question : Can any one, who has to read and 
act on the work, rapidly and clearly understand what is 
put down ? Before a campaign commences, the most 
exhaustive treatises may be prepared, and can be assimi- 
lated, because there is plenty of time available for their 
study; but when operations once commence, every one'^s 
time is fully employed, and it should be the object of 
every military official to speak and write what is to the 
point and nothing else. Furthermore, it should be spoken 
and written so that no false interpretation can be placed 
on the words either by an extremely clever or extremely 
stupid individual. A commander or a staff officer who is 
able to express in a few words, orally or in writing, exactly 
what he wishes to convey and nothing else, possesses a 
very valuable military asset. 

A staff officer who is called upon to execute any staff 
work in war should endeavour to put himself in the 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 275 

position of the officer who is to act on the result of his 
labours. Sometimes the staff officer is told to ascertain 
how a thing is to be done, and sometimes to do it himself. 
He will find the latter task by far the easier of the two, 
and yet if in the first case he had imagined that he was 
to do it himself, his work in all probability would be 
greatly improved in value. He should ask himself the 
question, '^What should I do if I were attacking this 
position, improving this railway station, or arranging this 
transport, &c. ? '*'' Then again, " What should I want to 
know if I was unable to come myself and had to send a 
staff officer 'i '^ Satisfactory replies to these questions will 
invariably lead to good work. 

When required to conduct a reconnaissance of ground, 
either of a large area or of a definite locality for some 
particular purpose, he should first study the available 
map. He should get every possible item of information 
which bears on his task from this map, and make a note of 
each. He should then arrange the details of his recon- 
naissance from the map, so that he will commence to work 
on the ground at the most suitable spot, and will not be 
compelled to go over the same piece of ground twice. 

After a little practice, an officer will find that the map 
will tell him a good deal, but it will not tell him every- 
thing. The map usually gives the situation of hills, rivers, 
villages, towns, &c., but it does not give much information 
regarding the nature of the ground, the crops, the view 
&c. Officers engaged on reconnaissance work frequently 
go over the ground first and study the map for further 
information afterwards. They should reverse this order of 
things, because if they first obtain all the information the 
map can give them, they start on their reconnaissance with 
a good deal of knowledge, and know exactly where to go 
and what to look for in order to complete their report. 

It is possible to deal but briefly with the vaiious types 



276 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

of work that an officer is called upon to perform during a 
Staff* Ride, but a general idea of what is recjuired can be 
suggested which may assist officers to elaborate the details 
themselves. The work can be divided up under the fol- 
lowing headings, and each will be treated separately : 

A. — Appreciations of a situation, strategical, tactical, or 
administrative {vide below). 

B. — Orders and instructions (Chapter XV.). 

C. — Reports of all kinds, especially reconnaissance 
reports under the sub-headings : (1) Security ; (2) Attack ; 
(3) Defence; (4) Administration (Chapter XVI.). 

D.— Sketches (Chapter XVI.). 

E. — Diagrams, graphics, time-tables, &c. (Chapter XVI.). 

A. Appreciations of a Situation. 

The study of a strategical, tactical, or administrative 
problem is not only highly instructive, but, if some system 
of approaching the subject can be laid down, it is very 
interesting. The chief drawback is the somewhat alarming 
title. We are asked to " appreciate '' or '* set a value on '*'' 
a certain " situation,"'' which means in ordinary language 
that we have got to solve a definite military problem. 
Those of us who in our early days have endeavoured to get 
even with our more gifted linguistic comrades have studied 
the art of solving triangles. Some of us learnt a lot of 
formulas by heart, and were prepared to deal with any 
proposition which an examiner could produce. Others 
went a step farther and discovered how to construct the 
necessary formula. It is said that every military problem 
requires different treatment, and that if we attempt to lay 
down rules for its solution we shall soon discover that the 
task is beyond our powers. But in our schooldays the 
triangles were always diff'erent : there was one which closely 
resembled a military problem ; one of its sides had a sort 
of hinge, and there were two solutions to that triangle. . 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 277 

Endeavours will be made below to construct formulas 
to work out these military problems, and the solution will 
depend on the various details of information, physical 
features, strategical, tactical, and administrative principles, 
&c., which we can call the sides and angles of our triangle. 

It is not so difficult to write an appreciation of a situa- 
tion as some people imagine, if only one knows the right 
way to set to work. It is merely putting down on paper 
what passes through our minds when we are studying a 
situation and endeavouring to arrive at a decision as to 
what it is best to do. We will take a simple tactical 
example, and we shall find that the formula we can con- 
struct whilst we are working out this problem will be 
useful to us in dealing with any other military situation, 
from a question whether it would be better to send forward 
a section or half a company to the future strategy involved 
in an attack by Mars against the Allied Powers of the 
Earth and Venus. Whilst working out the problem 
attention will be called to each statement which we can 
use as a formula by letters in brackets ; these will be 
recapitulated in a summary at the end. 

The Situation. 
See Sketch No. 20. 

1. You are in command of four companies of infantry, 
which, with'E squadron of cavah-y, form the vanguard of 
an advanced guard to a division marching east. The re- 
mainder of the advanced guard is a mile in rear, and the 
main guard is three miles ahead of the main body. 

2. It is not anticipated that any hostile troops will be 
met during the march, except perhaps a few patrols, but 
in the orders you received on starting you were told that 
if any small parties of the enemy were met they were to be 
driven back vigorously. 

3. The division is on the right of several divisions 



^78 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

marching eastwards, the cavalry are towards the left front 
of the army, and the enemy\s main army is believed to b^ 
three or four days^ march distant. So far the enemy has 
had the worst of the campaign. 

4. During the last hour the squadron commander has 
reported that he has been meeting and driving back hostile 
patrols. 

6. On arriving about a mile west of E you hear some 
firing in front, and shortly afterwards a message comes 
from the squadron commander at E to say that A and B 
are held by hostile troops, that he has attacked B round 
the north side of wood F with half a squadron, but was 
repulsed, losing five men. He is now holding the knolls 
at C and D with one troop on each ; the remainder of 
his squadron is at E, with a patrol at wood G. His 
patrols, three miles to the north, are in touch with patrols 
from the divisions on the left, and his patrols two miles 
to the south report no enemy in sight. He also adds 
that the enemy has not attempted to advance out of his 
position. 

On receipt of this information we should immediately 
proceed, as rapidly as possible, to E, and, as the ground 
west of E is hidden from the enemy, we should tell the 
vanguard to follow as far as the western slopes of E. 

Now let us try to put down on paper " what passes 
through our mind as we go forward to E. We think first of 
the strength and position of our own forces (a). We 
know that we have only four companies of infantry, but 
that a squadron is also present to help us. We also know 
that the vanguard is about a mile ahead of the main 
guard, so if we halt at E reinforcements will begin to 
arrive in about twenty minutes. 

Then we think of the position of the enemy ""s foices and 
his probable strength (b). We are somewhat surprised 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 279 

that the cavalry has been stopped, because we did not 
«^nticipate any resistance during the inarch. We think he 
cannotr be very strong, otherwise we should have met his 
cavalry, his advanced guard, or his outposts before this, 
so it is probable that we have now encountered some of 
his advanced troops. 

Then we remember what is our own object (c). The 
orders told us to drive back the enemy'^s advanced troops, 
so presumably we must attack if such an operation 
appears feasible, in order that the march of the main 
body shall not be interfered with. By this time we arrive 
at E, and it is necessary for us to consider the various 
factors which may affect the attainment of our object (d). 

The first factor to consider is whether we are strong 
enough to carry out our object, which is to attack ; this 
brings us to a study of the I'elative numbers, and in case of 
savage warfare the armament of ourselves and the enemy (e). 

The enemy is holding the high ground about A and 
B in sufficient strength to repel the attack of half a 
squadron, though that attack was delivered against their 
flank, so it is evident that he has more than a few patrols 
on this high ground; but he is only holding two small 
hills, and does not appear to have any troops between them, 
because our patrol has reached the wood G. 

We then wonder what is the enemy's object {f). So far 
we have met a few hostile patrols only ; these would belong 
to some formed body of mounted troops, and it is probable 
that we have now encountered this formed body. Its 
object may be of an offensive or defensive nature. It is 
evidently not offensive, or our squadron would have been 
attacked before this. If it is defensive, it is jirobably either 
to find out what troops we have got marching along this 
road, or to delay our advance till hostile reinforcements 
arrive, or perhaps to cover some important point to the 
cast. These objects can best be defeatc»d by an immediate 



280 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

attack, so it is advisable to act at once without waiting for 
the remainder of the advanced guard to come up. 

The next point we should consider would be how is this 
attack to be delivered, and we find that it is necessary to 
study the physical features of the ground (g) and the 
enemy's vulnerable points (A). To arrive at sound con- 
clusions on these matters it is advisable to put ourselves in 
the position of the enemy (A). 

From hill B he has a clear field of fire to the front 
and both flanks. If we attack this hill we must traveree 
about 900 yards of perfectly open ground, whether we 
advance against it from the west, north-west, or south- 
west. Furthermore, a successful attack on hill B will not 
necessarily compel the enemy to retire from hill A, because 
the latter commands the former, and as B is 1500 yards 
from A, the enemy's line of retreat from A would still be 
secure. It would be necessary, therefore, after capturing B, 
to make another attack on A, across the stream, unless we 
decide to attack both A and B simultaneously, which with 
only four companies appears to be a dangerous thing to do. 

We then consider an attack on hill A. If we were 
in the enemy's position it is fairly certain that we should 
prefer to be attacked on hill B rather than on hill A, 
because if the enemy is driven off hill A he will be 
uneasy about his line of retreat from B. He knows 
probably that we have other troops to the north of us, and 
theiefore if he is driven back he would prefer to retire in 
a south-easterly rather than a north-easterly direction. 

We should also observe th^t though, owing to the swamp, 
it would be difficult to attack A from the south, there is a 
covered approach from E towards A, first behind hill D, 
then behind the spur running south towards wood G 
and then through wood G. Then again there is a spur 
running north-west from hill A which it will not be very 
easy to defend. 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 281 

The enemy's vulnerable point appears, therefore, to be 
the spur north-west of A, and a study of such points 
usually indicates the sound course for us to adopt (li). 

We must now prepare a definite plan of action, and 
decide which is the best manner of carrying out an attack 
on hill A (J). We can advance through the wood G, 
from the hill C, or from the wood H. The last two appear 
to be imdesirable. The advance from C would be over 
very open ground, and that from H would be hampered 
by the stream and boggy ground between A and H. One 
disadvantage of the fii*st idea is that it may be difficult to 
initiate an attack from the south-east edge of the wood 
G, but as we have only a small force, this difficulty is 
not very great. Another disadvantage is that while we 
are attacking A from the wood G, hostile artillery fire 
from the high ground north-east of hill B may suddenly 
enfilade our troops at a range of 2000 yards. It is 
extremely unlikely, however, that any hostile artillery is 
close at hand, and this is a risk which we must be prepared 
to accept (n). 

We should now consider how the troops can be protected 
from counter-stroke during the attack, and how we can 
obtain sufficient warning of any unexpected event (/). We 
do not want to detach more troops than are absolutely 
necessary, because every man that is sent away causes a 
reduction in strength at the vital point, and may result in 
a neglect of the first principle of war — the concentration 
of superior force at the decisive point (m). 

With a troop of cavalry holding D and another holding 
C, it should be fairly safe to move the remainder of the 
force into the wood G. We wish to surprise the enemy (o), 
or at least not to disclose the direction of our main attack 
till the last moment, so we might, as we pass, detach half 
a company to reinforce hill D; it is close to our line 
of advance, so the men will not have fai: to %o* '^^^* 



282 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

detachment may mislead the enemy (o), it may make him 
think our main attack is coming from D towards B, and 
may even induce him to reinforce B. It would also secure 
our retreat on E if anything goes wrong, especially con- 
sidering that a counter-stroke is more likely to come from 
the north of B than from the south of A, owing to the 
swampy ground near the latter. We should then consider 
whether it was desirable to make another detachment to 
reinforce the troop of cavalry at C, with the object of 
obtaining covering fire to assist our main attack. The 
distance from C to A is some 1200 yards, which is rather 
long for effective rifle-fire ; the detachment would weaken 
our main attack and introduce complications (p) and a 
dispersion of troops which is undesirable. 

Finally, if the squadron is under our command, we must 
decide how they can best assist us. It is desirable to retain 
possession of hills C and D, not only to secure our own 
retreat, but also to cover the front of the remainder of the 
advanced guard. One troop on each should be sufficient, 
and the remainder might follow the attack to wood G, so 
that directly A is carried they can ride forward, followed 
by the two troops at C and D. 

Having made these notes, we can now write the appre- 
ciation of the situation, which might be as follows : 

Appreciation of the Situation. 

Hill E, 2 P.M., June 12. 

1. The vanguard, consisting of four companies and a 
squadron, is one mile ahead of the main guard, so rein- 
forcements may be expected to arrive at E in about 
twenty minutes. 

2, The enemy is holding the high ground about A 
and B in sufficient strength to repol the attack of half 
a squadron, though that attack was delivered against his 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 283 

flank. He has evidently more than a few patrols on this 
high ground, but he is not advancing ; he is rot holding 
the gi'ound between A and B, and hitherto we have 
encountered no formed bodies of his troops. It is prob- 
able, therefore, that he is not strong enough to resist 
a concentrated attack on one point delivered by four 
companies. 

3. As the enemy has made no forward movement and 
has adopted a defensive attitude, his object may be either 
to discover what troops are moving along this road, or to 
maintain his position till reinforcements arrive, or to cover 
some important point to the east. 

4. Our orders are to drive back the enemy ^s advanced 
troops if met. Considering all these points, an innnediate 
attack by the vanguard appears to be both feasible and 
desirable. 

5. A study of the ground shows that from B the 
enemy has a clear field of fire in every direction for some 
800 yards. It would also be easy for him to defend A 
against any attack from the west or south-west, especially 
considering the swampy ground to the south-west of 
A. It would be difficult, however, for him to defend A 
against an attack delivered from the wood G towards the 
spur running north-west from A. 

6. A successfrd attack against B w ould not be so decisive 
as against A, because if B were carried the enemy could 
still defend A. His line of retreat would be secure, and 
he would prefer to be driven in a south-easterly rather 
than a north-easterly direction, and thus avoid our divisions, 
which are marching east along parallel roads to the north 
of us. 

7. There is a concealed line of approach for our attack 
I'rom E, over the neck west of J) aiul then down to the 
wood G. From the south-east edge of this wo(k1 an 
attack can be made against the weak spur mentioned u\ 



284 STAFF HIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

paragraph 5. The enemy so far has not shown any 
artillery, and it is unlikely that he has any with what 
appears to be such a small force. If, however, guns 
opened fire suddenly from the hill north-east of D they 
would enfilade our attack. This is a danger which we 
must accept. 

8. It is evident, therefore, that our best line of attack 
is from the wcod G up the spur to A. It is important to 
use every man we can spare for this attack, and with one 
troop of cavalry on C and another on D it is safe to move 
the whole of the infantry to wood G. At the same time 
a reinforcement with infantry on D might mislead the 
enemy as to the direction of our attack, and it would 
secure our retirement on E if anything went wrong, 
especially considering that a counter-stroke is more likely 
to come from the north of B than from the south of A, 
owing to the swampy ground near the latter. An in- 
fantry detachment can be sent to D without making a 
long or dangerous march, and will be close at hand if 
required. 

9. It appears to be undesirable to complicate our plan 
and weaken our main attack by detaching troops to C. 
The range from that hill to A is some 1200 yards, and 
therefore rifle-fire would not be very effective to support 
the main attack. 

10. The cavalry now on C and D should remain there, 
continue to fire on the enemy, and distract his attention 
from his centre. The remainder of the squadron can 
proceed with the infantry to the wood G, where they would 
be ready to pursue the enemy and gain ground to the 
front directly A is carried by the infantry. 

11. The plan suggested is to retain the cavalry now on 
C and D, move the four companies, followed by the re- 
mainder of the cavalry, over the ground hidden from the 
enemy J by the neck between E and D, detach half a com- 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 285 

pany to D to open a heavy fire on B, move the remainder 
of the infantry and the cavahy, still under cover, behind 
the spur south of D to the wood G, and then attack the 
spur at A from the south-east edge of the wood G. The 
scouts at present on the flanks will remain out to give 
warning of any hostile approach. 



It is not to be supposed that the officer commanding 
this vanguard would write out an appreciation in this 
manner in real war, but all the ideas expressed in the 
above would pass rapidly through his mind if he were a 
good commander ; and it is excellent practice in peace-time 
to work out these schemes " by numbers " and record our 
ideas on paper. It accustoms the eye to seize rapidly on 
the tactical or strategical features of the country, and 
trains the mind to approach the solution of these prob- 
lems in a logical and common-sense manner. It teaches 
us to remember and to apply the important principles of 
war, and to consider the various factors which must affect 
the successful achievement of any military enterprise. 

The letters (a), (6), &c., which head the following notes 
are referred to in the previous study of the situation. A 
few extra paragraphs, dealing with strategical problems, 
are added so as to make the list more complete, but special 
points not included here will frequently arise, and must be 
dealt with in the appreciation. 

Notes for the Guidance of Officers when Writing an 
Appreciation of a Strategical or Tactical Sii^iation, 

An appreciation of a situation is a statement, arranged 
in logical sequence, of what passes through the mind of an 
officer whenever he is called upon to solve a military 
problem. 



286 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

A strategical or tactical appreciation can be prepared, 
as a rule, on the following lines, though the order in 
which the various paragi'aphs are given must sometimes be 
changed, or some headings may be omitted and others 
added, to meet special requirements: 

(a) The strength and position of our own forces. 
When these are well known it is only necessary to refer to 
them in order to strengthen an argument or for the pur- 
poses of (e). When the situation of the troops is compli- 
cated, or when there is doubt about the arrival of expected 
reinforcements, &c., it is necessary to state them clearly 
but briefly. 

(b) The strength and position of the enemy ""s forces, so 
far as they are known. These, together with the object 
and moral oi the enemy, must be deduced from studying 
the situation, the ground, and what has happened before. 
Certainties cannot be expected, and we must rely frequently 
on probabilities. 

{c) The object we have in view. This should be kept in 
evidence throughout the appreciation. 

{d) The elements of the situation which may affect the 
attainment of our object either for good or ill. These are 
summarised under headings {e) to (A). 

{e) The relative numbers, morale and armament of the 
opposing forces, vide notes to {a) and (6) above. 

[f) The probable object of the enemy. Vide note to 
(6) above. The object of the enemy should be studied 
purely from the point of view of gaining our own object, 
and not merely preventing him from gaining his. If we 
fall into this error we are apt to do little, to lose the 
initiative, and not only fail to gain our own object, but 
also fail to prevent the enemy from gaining his. 

(g) The physical features of the ground, also the roads, 
railways, canals, &c. How they can be turned to our 
own advantage and to the disadvantage of the enemy. 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 287 

A .careful study of the theatre of war, or of the imme- 
diate area of operations, is one of the most important 
parts of an appreciation, and one most frequently 
neglected. 

(A) The enemy's vulnerable points. These are dis- 
closed partly by the situation, such as the direction of 
the lines of communication or retreat, partly by a 
study of the ground, vide (g)^ and partly by endeavour- 
ing to put ourselves, in imagination, in the position of 
the enemy. If we can discover the enemy's vulnerable 
point, we usually gain the key to our own course of 
action. 

(i) Other elements chiefly of a strategical nature are : 
Politics, finance, communications, supply and transport, 
calculations of time and space, character of the opposing 
commanders, the enemy's methods of fighting, and climatic 
conditions. 

(J) A definite proposal for action. This involves a 
consideration of the various courses open to ourselves, and 
how these may be affected by any action the enemy may 
take. The plan suggested must be practical and not 
merely a vague scheme. The movements of the troops, 
the lines of march, and the exact object they are aiming 
at must be clearly indicated. The practicability of the 
plan must be proved, if necessary, by entering into 
questions of supply, transport, railways, &c. The plan 
must be suitable to the situation. If we are fiffhtiner in 
Wales, and are endeavouring to defeat an enemy in front 
of us, it is useless to suggest an attack on London by 
sending a division round by sea. 

(A:) The elaboration of the plan. The following notes 
(Z to q) may be useful : 

(Z) The security of the main operation and the advent 
of the unexpected should be provided for. Sometimes 
during peace operations officers suggest wide turning 



288 STAFF RI^ES AND REGIMENTAL^OURS 

movements with small detachments which violate every 
principle of war, and if opposed by an energetic com- 
mander can only lead to disaster. Night attacks by large 
bodies of cavalry, a movement to a flank between the enemy's 
position and a formidable obstacle, with no means of 
crossing it, and other operations of a similar natiu'e, have 
frequently been suggested during Staff Rides. Historical 
examples can no doubt be found in support of such 
manoeuvres, but it is better to discourage them, and deal 
with less heroic plans which do not require a Wellington, 
Napoleon, or a I^e to carry them out. 

(m) Concentration of superior force at the decisive point 
is a principle of war which can never be neglected. Every 
detachment reduces the weight of the blow at the vital 
point, where success is to be gained or lost. Unnecessary dis- 
persion of troops means weakness everywhere, and against 
a vigorous enemy is certain to lead to defeat. The 
truth of this is written large over every page of history. 

(n) We cannot be safe everywhere, so we must be prepared 
to accept some risk if we are aiming at decisive success. 

(o) Surprise is one of the most powerful weapons of war. 
It means that one side is delivering a blow before the 
other is prepared to receive it. We should endeavour at 
all times to mystify and mislead our opponent. 

(p) A simple plan is less dangerous, more effective, and 
far easier to carry out, with less risk of failure, than one 
which is complicated, even though it may be ingenious. 

(q) As a rule one line of operations in strategy is safer 
and more effective than two or three. Owing, however, to 
absence of roads and the size of armies, it is frequently 
impossible to carry out this principle. 

The above notes should be used merely as a general 
guide. Every appreciation must be dealt with in a 
different manner according to the object in view, and it is 



APPRECIATION OP A SITUATION 28^ 

most desirable that this object should not be obscured by 
a mass of detail. 

If it is necessary to prove any statement or any sugges- 
tion by long descriptions of what transport there is 
available, or by working out elaborate movements by rail, 
these tables should be placed in an appendix, and not in 
the body of the appreciation. 

There are two distinct types of an appreciation, one 
prepared in peace-time or on the declaration of wai*, and 
the other after the campaign has commenced. The first 
of these must necessarily be a lengthy document ; the 
factors or elements which may affect the attainment of 
the object are partly unknown or very uncertain. It is 
necessary to consider so many possibilities that it is usual 
to write several appreciations, each based on one situation 
out of the number that can probably arise. 

It will be apparent, therefore, that if the scheme for a 
Staff Ride desJs with the opening of a campaign, the 
appreciations which must be written by the officers must 
be very lengthy, although the officers will not be given a 
quarter of the information in the scheme which they would 
possess in real war. Neither side has yet invaded the terri- 
tory of the other ; it is not always apparent whether one 
side will invade and the other defend ; or whether, whilst 
preparing to invade, the deployment of one side may not 
be interfered with by the action of the other. The possible 
lines of invasion of each force must be considered, together 
with the action to be taken if both invade on the same 
line, if one invades on one line and the other on another, 
or if one side invades on one line and the enemy has con- 
centrated to defend that line or has assembled elsewhere. 
The number of possibilities is legion ; each has to be con- 
sidered, and finally the best course to adopt must be 
decided upon« This decision cannot be reached without 
the most careful study of the physical features of the 



290 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

theatre of war, the railways or transports available to 
carry the army to the area selected, the safety of this 
movement, the system of supply, and the defence of 
vital interests elsewhere. The study of the theatre of 
war alone will occupy many pages of printed matter. The 
commander must know beforehand whether the mountains, 
the rivers, and the forests will be an advantage to himself 
and a disadvantage to the enemy, or vice versa. The 
movement of the troops by rail or sea will require the 
most exhaustive study before it can be proved satisfactorily 
that the suggested course of action is feasible. The supply 
of the army after deployment will necessitate equally 
careful consideration. It will be seen, therefore, that an 
appreciation dealing with a situation at the commence- 
ment of a campaign will be so lengthy, and involve such 
high questions of politics, finance, and administration, that 
it is hardly suitable for the ordinary Staff* Hide. 

The difficulty can be overcome to some extent by tying 
down one side to an invasion on a certain line and making 
it clear to both sides that the enemy, for some political or 
other reason, is compelled to act on the defensive. Even 
then the appreciation must necessarily be lengthy, and 
one which few staff" officers would ever be called upon to 
prepare in war. 

A study of von Moltke's projects for the invasion of 
Bohemia in 1866 will show how necessary it is to include 
all the points mentioned above in any appreciation of 
this nature. 

Directly hostilities have commenced the area of possible 
operations is at once reduced ; the situation de«Js with 
definite points, and the courses open to each belligerent 
are rarely numerous. Lines of communication already 
exist, the strategical deployment is a thing of the past, 
and everything is working as smoothly as the arrangements 
of the commanders and the circumstances of the case will 



APPRECIATION OF A SITUATION 291 

permit. These appreciations fall within the compass of 
every commander and staff officer in war, and can be 
practised in peace exercises with great advantage. 

Strategy, tactics, and administration will each in turn 
be the dominant factor of the problem. In open country, 
if supply offers no great difficulties, and if the ground 
does not favour the tactics of one side more than the other, 
strategy will be the main consideration. In other circum- 
stances, though strategy might indicate a certain line of 
action, the tactical difficulties might be so great that they 
would become the ruling factor. Then again, though 
tactics and strategy might point to a suitable plan of 
action^ the questions of administration will perhaps render 
such a solution absolutely out of the question. Which- 
ever of these three factors is the dominant feature of the 
situation, it should be clearly brought out in the apprecia- 
tion. We haVe already seen that the plan suggested 
must be practical ; it is useless to minimise difficulties 
during a Staff Ride and bring forward proposals which, 
though apparently very brilliant, will not bear the light 
of strategical, tactical, or administrative inspection. 



CHAITL^ER XV 

NOTES ON THE WORK DONE BY OFFICERS 
DURING A STAFF RIDE {continued) 

B, — Orders and Instructions. 

The method of writing orders is clearly indicated in 
Combined Training ; it is unnecessary, therefore, to do more 
than point out a few difficulties or mistakes in their prepara- 
tion which are frequently observed. 

Combined Training lays down that orders issued by one 
commander are intended for the commanders beneath him 
and for no one else. Many officers have a vague idea that 
the orders so issued are intended to be read out to the 
troops, and that is the reason why they must be prepared 
with such great care and exactitude. 

An order, as portrayed in Combined Training, is nothing 
more than a memorandum written by a commander to his 
subordinates. If the various matters are arranged in the 
sequence laid down, it is easier for the subordinate com- 
manders to understand the order, and readily refer to it 
later, than it would be if there was no such system. As 
all operation orders are of a similar nature, a general system 
of preparing them can be, and is, laid down for \ihe guidance 
of officers. But because this system is laid down in 
Combined Training there is no occasion for officers to follow 
it blindly, and insert something under every heading merely 
because the heading is given, and not to put in other 
matters^ which may be of great importance at the moment, 



NOTES ON ORDERS Q9S 

simply because there appears to be no heading under which 
they fall. 

If any of us are asked to write a memorandum containing 
the orders we wish to convey to a subordinate we should, 
have no difficulty in doing so, but the memorandum written 
straight out of our heads might contain some ambiguities 
or omissions, whereas if we cudgel our brains to put it 
into the form laid down in Combined Ti'aining we are less 
likely to commit these errors. There is no doubt that it 
is much easier to write a memorandum containing our 
wishes than it is to write orders, but the latter are the 
best for military purposes. In a memorandum we are 
liable to stray from the point, to suggest how a thing 
should be done, to qualify our instructions with vague 
statements such as " at daybreak,'' " if possible,'' &c., and 
to explain our reasons for wishing certain things to be 
done. 

These are all prohibited in Combined Training, because 
they are pitfalls which, if not avoided, may wreck the plan 
of operations. At the same time they are difficult to avoid, 
and whilst endeavouring to do so we are led into state- 
ments that we do not quite mean. For example, we wish 
a subordinate to attack some hostile troops in front of him, 
which we believe are inferior in strength to the force we 
propose to employ, but we have no evidence to prove it. 
If we wrote a memorandum we should say, "You are re- 
quired to attack the troops in front of you, and, if possible, 
drive them back. If, however, you find that the enemy is in 
much greater strength than our information, which is not 
very reliable, leads us to believe, you must be prepai'ed to 
assume a defensive attitude." 

Now let us try and put this into the proper form of 
orders, and we are at once confronted with a difficulty. 
The commander has a firm conviction in his own mind that 
" the enemy in front " is not as strong as the troops he is 



294 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

sending to attack them, or he would not order the attack, 
yet it is difficult to put this down in an order. This very 
difficulty at once shows that we are ordering an officer to 
do a thing which we cannot describe in a plain, straight- 
forward manner. 

Then again we have to give the general situation ; prob- 
ably the commander on the spot knows more about it 
than we do. We have to give the information regarding 
the enemy : the local commander may be better advised on 
this subject than ourselves. The idea of attacking at all 
may have been born in our minds by the information we 
have received from this commander, added to other infor- 
mation which we have obtained and which he is unaware 
of. It appears that this last-mentioned point, together 
with the general situation, will assist us in preparing the 
first order, and give us at least a commencement. 

1. The enemy is making a heavy attack against the 
western part of our position, so it is probable that he is in 
no great strength in front of your brigade. 

2. The major-general commanding intends to hold 
the enemy on the west and attack on the east. As, how- 
ever, the hostile attack on the west may be a feint, he 
wishes to be prepared to adopt a defensive attitude on the 
east flank if necessary. 

3. Your brigade will attack the troops in front of you 
as soon as possible, but if the enemy appears to be in great 
strength you must be ready to act on the defensive. 

These orders are probably as indifferent as they can be, 
and yet it is difficult to suggest anything better. It was 
easy enough to write the memorandum, but it is quite a 
different thing to put the memorandum into the form of 
orders. 

^rhe whole point of the matter is that the original idea 

of the commander was wrong. If he had written a memo- 

randum he might not have discovered the mistake, and 



NOTES ON ORDERS 295 

might have thought little more about it except that he 
had given his subordinate rather a delicate task to carry 
out. 

Any such memorandum, or any such orders, sent to a 
subordinate simply means that the officer who sends them 
is transferring responsibility which should rest with him 
on to the shoulders of his subordinate. 

Is the brigade to attack or is it to defend ? It cannot 
do both, and we have discovered the reason why, not by 
writing a memorandum, but by endeavouring to put that 
memorandum into the form of orders. That is the reason 
why Combined Training recommends this formal method of 
\mting orders, and lays an embargo on all doubtful terms. 
The superior commander is the person to decide whether 
any of his troops are to attack, defend, advance, or retire, 
&c. If he thinks there is any doubt about the possibility 
of any operation, he will keep the uncertainty to himself, 
otherwise he will seriously affect the enterprise and dash of 
his subordinate. 

Let us consider what is called a " holding attack,'" which 
closely resembles the above. The divisional commander is 
told to make a holding attack. He tells the brigade com- 
mander to make a holding attack, who passes on the same 
order to the battalion commanders. The battalion com- 
manders will naturally halt their companies as soon as any 
opposition is met with. The enemy, seeing that a holding 
attack is being made, will withdraw his reserves to a point 
where they can be more usefully employed, and will con- 
tain the holding attack with a smaller force. The main 
attack will probably fail in consequence, and the divisional, 
brigade, and battalion commanders will be abused for not 
being more energetic or for not going far enough. A few 
weeks later another holding attack is to be made. This 
time it is pushed with great vigour, the attacking troops 
get into difficulties with a greatly superior force, and 



^96 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

reserves are required to go to their assistance. The 
divisional, brigade, and battalion commanders are then 
abused for going too far. 

Here again undue responsibility has been handed down 
from one commander to another. When the divisional 
commander first received the order to make a holding 
attack, he should have reconnoitred the ground and de- 
cided how far it was necessary for one or two of his brigades 
to go. He would then issue orders directing his troops to 
attack, capture, and hold a certain line. Having gained 
this line, he would again reconnoitre, and decide whether a 
further attack was necessary, and if so issue orders accord- 
ingly. None of the brigadiers or the battalion commanders 
would have been told that they were making a holding 
attack, because • there would have been no occasion to 
tell them, and far more satisfactory results might be 
anticipated by leaving them in ignorance of the 
matter. 

We see, therefore, the result of any failure to comply 
with the principles of Combined Training in this matter, 
and how important it is in orders to tell subordinates to 
do this or that without giving reasons or qualifying the 
directness of the order. 

There appears to be no reason why the intentions of the 
commander should not be lengthy, or even hinge on the 
action of another commander, if the situation requires it, 
especially when a somewhat complicated retreat will prob- 
ably take place. In this case a commander can issue what 
might be called preparatory operation orders explaining 
the general scheme of operations which are not to be 
acted on until further ordera are received or until some 
action of the enemy compels it. 

For example, one force might be falling back before 
another, either to gain a better fighting position or to call 
up reinforcements. A brigadier in front line might issue 



NOTES ON ORDERS 297 

orders of the following nature to his battalion com- 
manders : 

The present position will be held unfil the division on 
our left has retired. The brigade will then draw off by 
successive battalions from the left. The reserve battalion 
will occupy the hill R (in rear of the line of defence 
and on the left flank) till the rest of the brigade has 
retired. The reserve battalion will by its fire assist the 
retirement of the division on the left, which may be 
heavily pressed during its passage over the bridges at S. 
The left battalion may be required to assist the reserve 
battalion in the above operation. In any case, the hill R 
will be held till the last. 

The reserve and the left battalions will retire over 
the bridge at Y, the remainder of the brigade using the 
crossings at X. Commanding officers 'will reconnoitre 
their various lines of retreat, and the officer commanding 
the left battalion will send an officer to hill R to discover 
how his battalion can best assist if required. 

The brigadier will give the order for retirement of each 
battalion of the brigade from its present position. He 
will remain with the left battalion till it retires, and then 
join the reserve on hill R. 

This is a very lengthy order, but it is most desirable 
that in a complicated situation of this nature every sub- 
ordinate commander should know what to do beforehand. 

Another difficulty in writing orders is connected with 
the " intentions *" of the commander. Combined Training 
directs that the orders of a superior commander should not 
be passed on to the smaller units, but that fresh orders 
should be prepared by each command. This is necessary 
for several reasons. The commander of two or three 
divisions may make statements in his orders regarding his 
own intentions which are highly confidential. For example, 
he may have decided to make his main attack against the 



298 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

enemy's eastern flank and to make a " holding "' attack 
against the front of the position. It would be necessary 
for the divisional Commander to know this, but it would 
be undesirable for the brigadiers, and certainly for the 
battalion commanders, to know that they were taking 
part in an operation which they might consider required 
no great energy. 

Then again, if the commander's orders were sown broad- 
cast over the force they might easily fall into the enemy's 
hands through the capture of an officer with the orders on 
him, and the intentions of the commander would be known 
to the enemy. Not only would the operation fail, but the 
enemy, learning the distribution of the troops, could make 
a heavy attack on some weakly defended locality, and 
perhaps win a great battle before the commander had 
time to change his plans or move his reserves. 

If a commander was fighting either an offensive or 
defensive battle, he might wish to inform those imme- 
diately under him what he intended to do if things went 
wrong and a retreat became necessary. It would be most 
impolitic to allow any arrangements for retreat to reach 
the ears of the fighting troops, though it would be quite 
right to make proper arrangements for it beforehand. 

As the commander's orders are not to be passed on, the 
divisional commander must insert his " intentions " in his 
own order. He frequently says to himself that these are 
not my intentions — they are the intentions of the lieut.- 
general commanding, and he does not quite know what to 
put in his orders and what to leave out. The natural 
answer is that he must put in everything which affects his 
own command, provided no secrets are disclosed and no 
undesirable statements regarding retreat are included. 
TTiis, however, does not quite overcome the difficulty. 
We will suppose that the lieut.-general has stated in his 
intentions that the force would advance to the river 



NOTES ^ON ORDERS 299 

M and throw advanced guards across it. The divisional 
commander could hardly state in his intentions that 
this was to be done, because it would appear that he was 
ordering it. Or, again, the lieut. -general might state: 
** It is intended to retain possession of the N position till 
an attack develops, wlien the force will retire to the line 
O, P,**"* &c. The divisional commander must say in his 
orders that he intends to hold the N position, &c. ; it is, 
however, not his intention, but that of the lieut. -general. 

Probably the best manner of overcoming the difficulty 
is to treat the lieut.-generars orders in an impersonal 
manner, provided it can be done without disclosing secrets, 
or to omit them altogether. The enemy's position is to 
be attacked at all points to-morrow. The 18th division 
will, &c. 

The 18th division will continue to hold the N posi- 
tion to-morrow. In case of a retirement being ordered 
brigadiers are informed confidentially of the following 
scheme, &c. : 

The force will advance to-morrow, the 18th division 
gaining the line of the river M and throwing the advanced 
guard across it. Or the 18th division will be on the right 
of the advance to-morrow and will gain the river M, throw- 
ing the advanced guard across it. 

When orders are written in small note-books no attempt 
should be made to preserve a margin for giving a list of 
units. If these are badly written it is difficult to ascertain 
what troops belong to the advanced guard and what to the 
main body. It is better to write these down in a clear 
space below each order. Each unit can be written below 
the other, or in a line, with a good space between. Thus : 

The advanced guard will be clear of its bivouac at 
6 A.M. ; it will be composed of : 
One squadron 90th Hussars. 
Two battalions of the 40th infantry brigade. 



300 STAFF RIDKS AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

One battery of the 120th field artillery brigade. 
The i86th field company R.E. 
The whole under the General officer commanding 40th 
brigade 

The head of the remainder of the division will pass 
the cross roads at V at 7 a.m., and will march in the 
I following order : 

Divisional headquartei's. Remainder of 40th infantry 
; brigade. Remainder of 120th field artillery brigade. 

I 41st infantiy brigade, &c. 

If these troops are named in the margin in a small 
note-book, those forming the advanced guard overlap the 
order dealing with the main body, and instead of the 
margin making things clearer, it does the reverse. 

It is a mistake to detail by name the units under the 
command of the officer to whom the orders are addressed ; 
. the latter is the proper person to decide which unit should 

be employed on any particular task ; he alone knows 
the exact situation as regards efficiency, detachments, 
fatigue, &c., of each unit under his command, and there- 
fore he is the best judge as to which unit to detail for the 
various operations. 

There is, however, a great temptation to detail certain 

units for a particular task, especially when they are some- 

[ what scattered, and when one unit is particularly well placed 

to carry out the plan of the higher commander. As a rule 

the subordinate commander would recognise this fact and 

! detail this particular unit for the work. Occasions arise, 

however, when it is impolitic to inform the subordinate 
commander of some later operation which it is intended to 
execute, and which it is undesirable to notify till the last 
moment, such as a small night attack or a movement to a 
flank. 

It would be a mistake if the success of the operation was 
hnperiUed by adhering too closely to this rule, and, if 



NOTES ON ORDERS 301 

necessary, a particular unit might be detailed for a 
particular task. For example, we will suppose that a 
brigade is bivouacked in rear of a defile, and that its 
advanced guard, consisting of one battalion, is defending 
the defile, and that it is desired to remove the remainder 
of the brigade very rapidly to a flank. The divisional 
commander could order the brigadier to retain the battalion 
in the defile and to move the rest of his brigade as required. 

The brigadier, owing to some interior arrangement 
regarding supply of food, ammunition, or forage, might be 
particularly anxious to withdraw this battalion and send 
forward another to Replace it. This might take so long 
that the movement of the brigade would be seriously 
delayed and the operation fail in consequence. On the 
other hand, owing to such a complication as is mentioned 
above the fi*esh task imposed on the brigadier might be 
executed with greater promptitude and efficiency by 
relieving the battalion in the defile. 

With a force of the size of the division it would be 
possible, as a rule, for the divisional commander to be fully 
informed of the situation, both tactical and administrative, 
of every brigade in his command ; and if he was of opinion 
that any difficulty was likely to arise, it would be best for 
him to confer personally with the brigadier, or to break 
the ordinary rule and actually name a unit in the brigade. 

For example, the commander of the force might have 
decided to make one more attack, and, if that failed, to 
retire or move elsewhere. The divisional commander might 
be informed of this intention, but it might be extremely 
undesirable to inform the brigadiers. The divisional 
commander would then be unable to explain to the 
brigadier why certain of his battalions were to do one 
thing and the remainder do something else, and would be 
comj^elled to interfere in the command of the brigade 
without giving any reason for doing so, simply because he 



302 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

could not inform the brigadier of the whole circumstances 
of the situation. 

Another difficulty of a similar nature is to name the 
commander of a detachment, such as an advanced or rear- 
guard or an outpost line. It is usual in this case to obtain 
the name of the commander from the brigadier and then 
insert it in the operation orders. 

When part of a brigade, such as two battalions, is 
detailed for some detached work it is generally advisable 
to place the brigadier in command, especially if the detach- 
ment is composed of all arms. The commanding officer of 
a battalion has only one staff* officer, *the adjutant, whereas 
the brigadier is provided with a sufficient staff* for all 
requirements. In this case the brigadier could be named in 
the divisional orders as the commander of the detachment. 

In any tactical operation, such as an attack or a defence, 
it is most desirable to state where such units as the 
ammunition columns both of the artillery brigades and of 
the division are to be placed, or the routes they are to 
follow. The actual position or route may be decided upon 
by the brigadier-general commanding the artillery, but 
they should be notified in divisional orders so that every 
one will know where to find them. It is sometimes for- 
gotten that the artillery ammunition columns carry rifle 
as well as gun ammunition, and that on some occasions it 
might be necessary to separate these. The same applies 
to field ambulances, supply columns, and regimental 
second line transport. 

It is important when writing orders during a Staffs Ride 
that the officers should frequently consult the War Estab- 
lishments, not only because it familiarises them with the 
composition of the various units making up the army, but 
because they are apt to overlook important units which 
require attention. For example, an infantry brigade con- 
sists of four battalions only. The headquarters of the 



NOTES ON ORDERS 303 

brigade and also each battalion has its own transport for 
baggage, stores, and supplies. Each battalion has trans- 
port for a certain amount of small arm ammunition and 
for medical equipment; there is also a medical officer, 
together with a certain number of company bearers. 
Such units as field ambulances, supply columns, artillery, 
and engineers belong to the divisional troops, and if some 
of these or any part of them are to be attached to the 
infantry brigade, the fact must be stated in orders. 

Omissions in orders are very frequent amongst the 
administrative units. The field ambulances are either for- 
gotten or placed without thought with the second line 
transport or with the divisional ammunition column. Or 
all these are referred to as " baggage."*' Each unit of the 
command should be mentioned in the orders, otherwise 
the commander of the unit has to send for orders, perhaps 
in the middle of the night. It a is good plan, when writing 
orders, to refer constantly to Combined Training, and make 
quite sure that the instructions laid down therein are closely 
followed. An officer who writes an order should endeavour 
to put himself in the position of the officer who has to act on 
it, and ascertain if he himself would know exactly what to 
do if he was called upon to carry it out. If possible the 
various units composing the force should be placed on the 
map after the orders have been written, and then checked 
with the War Establishments. If this is done omissions 
are unlikely, and a comprehensive plan of operations is 
disclosed by the orders. 

Occasions arise in war when it is not possible to give 
definite orders to a subordinate. This is the case when 
cavalry are sent some distance from the main body, or when 
a detachment of one or all arms is about to be made, 
or when a detachment has already been made and the sub- 
ordinate commander is unable to place his superior in 
immediate possession of all the factors which affect the 



S04 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

situation in his locality. It is then necessary to substitute 
" instructions *" for " orders."*' Orders convey to the sub- 
ordinate the general situation, the commander's inten- 
tions, and definite statements as to what the subordinate 
is to do. Instructions contain the general situation, the 
intentions of the commander, and describe exactly the 
task which the subordinate is required to execute, but give 
no details as to what he is to do, because these particulars 
depend upon the local situation at the moment, which the 
superior commander is unable to appreciate because he is 
not on the spot. 

It is not difficult to decide whether " orders '' or " in- 
structions " should be given in any particular case. For 
a commander to be in a position to issue orders it is 
necessary that only a short time should elapse between 
the moment when the situation changes and the moment 
when he receives the notification of that change. Further- 
more, he should be sufficiently close, as a rule, to recon- 
noitre the ground, or he should have reconnoitred it 
beforehand from the point of view of the particular 
operation in hand. It is possible sometimes for a sub- 
ordinate to be in such close communication with his 
superior, especially by telephone, that orders can be 
issued when the former is some distance away from the 
latter. But such means of communication are very un- 
reliable, and may fail at a critical moment. As a rule it 
is best for the commander to issue instructions when he is 
not on the spot, when he has not seen the ground, and 
when he cannot ascertain rapidly the exact local situation 
as regards his own detachment and the enemy. A detached 
subordinate should be taken more into the confidence of 
the commander than those who are acting immediately 
under his ordei's. It will be necessary sometimes to in- 
form the subordinate what course of action will be pursued 
if the operations of the main force and the detachment are 



NOTES ON ORDERS 305 

successful, or if one is successful and one fails, or if both 
fail. In fact, these instructions will frequently disclose 
the results of an appreciation of a situation. At the same 
time due attention must be paid to the principles laid 
down in Combined Training, and no reasons should be 
given, or ambiguous terms used, unless the situation 
demands them and they are unavoidable. It should 
always be remembered that directly these principles are 
neglected an element of danger and of doubt is introduced 
which cannot but have a detrimental effect on the opera- 
tions and are only justified when they eliminate some 
greater evil. 

Staffs officers can be given opportunities during a Staff* 
Ride of practising the preparation of telegrams, especially 
long telegrams describing a situation or conveying instruc- 
tions. A commander, after describing what has occurred ^ 
should finish up his telegram by stating what he proposes 
to do next. 

Orders and instructions sent by telegraph require the 
most careful scrutiny before they are despatched. It is a 
good plan to show them to an officer who knows little of 
the situation, and ask him what he would do if he received 
such a message. It is of little use to ask him if he under- 
stands it, because he may do that without discovering any 
mistakes. 

When writing telegrams the word " stop " should only 
be inserted where it is necessary to make the meaning 
clear, and where it cannot be misinterpreted. The following 
telegram will explain this: "'Your suggestion approved 
stop the troops proceeding to ex those to wye and zed 
and the detachment at kew must be completed to ten 
days rations.**' 

This is taken from an actual telegram, and was inter- 
preted to mean that the troops proceeding to ex were not 
to go. The word " stop '' was unnecessary and misleading. 



CHAPTER XVI 

NOTES ON THE WORK DONE BY OFFICERS 
DURING A STAFF RIDE (continued) 

C, — Reports. OF all Kinds, especially Reconnaissance 
Reports, under the Sub-headings : 
(1) Security ; (2) Attack ; (3) Defence ; (4) Adminis- 
tration. 
D. — Sketches. 
' E, — Diagrams and Graphics. 

Staff officers in war will be required constantly to recon- 
noitre ground for the purposes detailed in Chapter XI., 
and to furnish reports, and sometimes sketches, to describe 
and illustrate the result of their labours. 

A commander who makes a similar reconnaissance for 
himself does not write any report, but he rides over the 
ground, thinks what he would do to meet each requirement 
of the situation, makes mental notes of various important 
points, and then returns to his headquarters and issues 
his orders. 

A staflP officer by his report and by his sketch, supple- 
mented sometimes by verbal amplifications, is required 
to place his commander in possession of all these items of 
information, his report taking the place of the commander's 
personal reconnaissance. 

In war no doubt the commander would usually recon- 
noitre the ground for himself, but occasions occur when he 
is compelled to rely on his staflT for this work ; and in any 



NOTES ON RECONNAISSANCE 307 

case these reconnaissances in peace-time form a very 
valuable medium of instruction to the staflP officer. 

To produce really good work the staff officer, either in a 
peace exercise or in war, must use his imagination. He 
must create in his mind a picture of the troops or the 
transport, &c., actually carrying out the task he is con- 
sidering. Imagine a brigade moving forward to the attack 
over that ground in front : where will the difficulties arise ? 
what are the important tactical points to be captured in 
the various stages of the operation ? Then again imagine 
a brigade of artillery detraining on one platform of a 
station and a brigade of infantry at another. At what 
intervals can the trains arrive ? what is to become of each 
gun, man, and horse as he gets out of the train ? The 
staff officer must actually conjure up in his mind the 
scene of confusion and noise which will certainly arise at 
that station unless his arrangements are good. 

The report which he prepares must contain no padding ; 
difficulties should not be presented merely to be knocked 
down ; a simple statement can be made that certain diffi- 
culties which usually exist in such operations are absent. 
Real difficulties should be recognised, appreciated at their 
value, no more and no less, and suggestions put forward 
to overcome them. An aide-memoire for reports of this 
nature is a dangerous thing to rely upon : it offers a temp- 
tation to insert details which do not really matter, and, 
owing to the general manner in which it must necessarily 
be prepared, it does not give due prominence to the few 
important points which above all else dominate the solu- 
tion of the particular task in hand. 

It is a good rule to commence a report with a brief 
summary of the results of the reconnaissance. This will 
enable the commander to ascertain at once the general 
suitability of the locality for the purpose required, and 
may save him the perusal of several pages, only to ^^^^.N^-t 



308 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

in the end that it is impracticable to carry out his original 
intentions. 

For example, the report on a railway station might com- 
mence as follows : 

The station is unsnited for the rapid detrainment of 
troops. There is only one exit from the station up a 
gradient of one in ten. The platform on the north side 
cannot be used, because the only egress is for foot passen- 
gers up a stairway, and no other could be made. Only 
one train could be received at a time. The detachment 
would take at least thirty-six hours to detrain. 

Having read this paragraph, the commander would have 
obtained probably all the information he wanted. It 
would be necessary, however, for the staff officer to com- 
plete the i-econnaissance, in case the station was required 
in spite of its disadvantages. The report should proceed 
with the various details, which should be arranged in the 
same order as the successive stages of the proposed opera- 
tion. If we adopt this manner of building up the report 
in logical sequence, we shall produce high-class work ; we 
are not likely to forget important items of information, 
and our work will be readily understood. 

It is very desirable that the report should be easily 
read. The gi'eatest offenders in this respect are people 
who have what is called a good handwriting. It may be 
nice to look at, but it is frequently very difficult to read. 
The same applies to ihe names of places. Officers some- 
times print them in block capitals, but do it so badly that 
they are more illegible than if they had been written. 
Abbreviations such as "Bat" for battalion, A.G. for 
advanced guard, &c., should be avoided. When writing 
numbers it is advisable to distinguish between the desig- 
nation of a brigade, &c., and the number of brigades, 
writing the first in figures and the second in letteis. 
Thus : 2ud brigade, and two (not 2) brigades. 



RECONNAISSANCE— SECURITY 309 

C, (1) Reco9inaissa7K'e of ground for purposes of security, 

A reconnaissance of this nature is naturally divided into 
two classes, one when the force is moving, and the other 
when it is halted. 

To deal first with the force in motion, protection may 
be required either in front, in rear, or on the flank of the 
main body. As a reconnaissance for each of these pur- 
poses would be conducted on a somewhat different prin- 
ciple, it is as well to deal with them separately. 

When the force is advancing it may require an advanced 
guai-d, a flank guard, or both. The duties of an advanced 
guard are laid down in Combined Ti'aining, and the recon- 
noitring officer cannot do better than follow the sequence 
of these duties. 

The first of these is to guard against surprise. It would 
be necessary, therefore, to examine the country and report 
whether it would be difficult or easy for the mounted 
troops with the advanced guard to discover the approach 
of an enemy. In very close country where movement is 
confined to the roads and where the view is limited 
patrolling would be slow and difficult. In close country 
patrols could get about easier than formed bodies either 
of infantry or cavalry. In open country patrolling would 
be easy, but owing to the distance patrols must go to 
avoid the main body being surprised the information they 
obtain may be slow in arrival. 

The reconnoitring officer when examining the country 
will look for pr)ints whence the patrols can obtain a good 
view towards the enemy, and will also notice the points 
where the enemy would obtain a good view of our own 
advance. 

The next duty is to push back the enemy, if he is met 
in small numbers, and prevent the march being delayed. 
The reconnoitring officer would endeavour to discover 



310 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

where small bodies of the enemy would be likely to inter- 
rupt the march, and would briefly note the best manner of 
driving him back. 

The third duty is of a more serious nature, and therefore 
should demand the careful attention of the officer. If the 
enemy is advancing in superior force, he is to be held in 
check and compelled to deploy. This will require an 
examination of the country to discover where suitable 
positions exist along the line of march for the advanced 
guard to carry out its instructions. An advanced guard 
commander if he knew of these positions beforehand 
would look upon them as so many stages in his progi'ess. 
As soon as he had gained one, his next object would be to 
reach the other, and, if he was prevented by the enemy, he 
would naturally make his stand on the position just passed. 

The reconnoitring officer should report on these posi- 
tions, chiefly to indicate how they can be occupied in 
great haste by the troops of the advanced guard deploying 
from the road. The most important point of each posi- 
tion is the locality which, if captured by the enemy, would 
compel the advanced guard to fall back. This tactical 
point should be clearly indicated in the report, so that the 
advanced guard commander will secure it before any other 
point. TTie strength of the position should be noted, 
especially its apparent strength when viewed from the 
enemy^s side ; the field of fire ; possibility of co-operation 
of artillery and infantry, and the security of the former as 
regards the flank and also as regards covered lines of 
approach and retreat. The advanced guard commander 
would not care to risk his guns on a position from which, 
if in danger of capture from the enemy, they could not 
possibly retire. 

The fourth duty of the advanced guard is to endeavour 
to ascertain the dispositions of the enemy if his advanced 
troops are driven back and he is found to be acting on the 



RECONNAISSANCE-SECURITY 311 

defensive. Previous reconnafssance of the ground in this 
case would be invaluable. The reconnoitring officer would 
have discovered all positions along the line of advance 
which the enemy would be likely to hold, and whilst 
riding over them he could make a fair guess at the places 
where the flanks would rest and the number of troops 
which would be required to defend each position. For 
example, the reconnoitring officer might report that there 
is a suitable position for the enemy to occupy at A, but 
that it could not well be held by a force larger than two 
brigades or smaller than one brigade of infantry, and then 
add other details. Or again he might discover a position 
at B which might be held by one or two army corps, 
but if held by a division would be easy to attack directly 
the flanks of the defence were discovered. 

Finally the report would call attention to any points on 
the road which it would be dangerous for the main body 
to pass till the advanced guard had made good certain 
other points in front. He might also draw attention to 
facilities for signalling between the advanced guard and 
the main body, or between cavalry patrols and the 
advanced guard. He would note any bad places on the 
road, steep gradients or any other likely cause of delay to 
the main body, and his report would be complete. 

It would only be possible to execute such a reconnais- 
sance when the independent cavalry happen to be well in 
front of the main army, or the protective cavalry are 
about a day's march ahead. If the independent or the 
protective cavalry were likely to be driven back by a 
hostile advance, such a reconnaissance before the ground 
was occupied by the enemy would be invaluable. 

A reconnaissance for the protection of a flank would be 
required when the probable direction of the enemy's 
advance was unknown. Directly a flank guard begins to 
perform its functions as such it immediately becomes an 



3ia STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

advanced guard, and is subject to the same requirements 
as regards reconnaissance. The only difference is that 
the flank guard must move in a crablike fashion so as to 
keep pace with the main body and at the same time be 
prepared to form battle to a flank. 

The reconnoitring officer when examining the ground 
and preparing his report could deal with the subject in 
the same order as suggested for an advanced guard. As it 
would be undesirable for the flank guard to do much in 
the way of advancing still farther to the flank, the route 
to be followed by the flank guard would be carefully 
selected by the reconnoitring officer so that it could move 
from one flank position to another along the whole of the 
line of march. 

As the flank guard whilst invariably facing to a flank 
for fighting purposes is also advancing to the front for 
marching purposes, the head of the guard when marching 
and the flank nearest the advanced guard when halted 
will require careful consideration. It is probable that 
the flank guard commander would endeavour to gain a 
footing on the next flank position before leaving the 
first. The reconnoitring officer would pay attention to 
this requirement, especially as regards the distance apart 
of the various flank positions he discovers and the security 
of the flank nearest the advanced guard. 

It would be rare that a force advancing or retiring with 
a flank guard would not also have an advanced or rear- 
guard. The danger, especially during an advance, where 
the forces are meeting, would be that the enemy might 
penetrate between the advanced guard and the flank guard. 

A reconnaissance for a rear-guard is generally possible, 
unless the main body is completely surrounded by the 
enemy, which frequently occurs in tribal warfare, but rarely 
during an ordinary campaign. The usual action of a rear- 
guard is described in Combined Training, and the recon- 



RECONNAISSANCE— SECURITY 313 

noitring officer cannot do better than discover how far the 
country lends itself to the requirements of such a detacn- 
ment as laid down in that book, and report accord- 
ingly. Combined Training says that the rear-guard is 
required to take up " a succession of defensive positions, 
which the enemy is compelled to make dispositions for 
attacking or turning. When these dispositions are nearly 
complete, the rear-guard moves off,**** &c. There is a sort 
of popular idea amongst officers that this sort of thing can 
go on for a whole day, and of course it is quite possible 
that this may be so, especially with a small force. With 
modern weapons, however, the rear-guard is rarely called 
upon to take up more than one or two positions, unless the 
main body has drawn off during the night and the rear- 
guard has to keep back the enemy throughout the following 
day. Even in that case the pursuit will probably consist 
of cavalry and horse artillery only, and then, as directed in 
Combined Training, the rear-guard must occupy a wide 
front with the greater part of the force in the fighting line. 

It will be the duty of the reconnoitring officer to dis- 
cover positions suitable for the above action, and it will be 
advisable, as in all tactical reconnaissance, for him to keep 
a copy of Combined Training in his pocket, to make sure 
that he has not forgotten anything. 

Having selected the positions and paid due attention 
to the flanks, he will consider how the ground lends itself 
to a withdrawal to the next position. Combined 
Training directs that these positions should be suffi- 
ciently far apart to induce the enemy, after seizing one, to 
re-form colunm of route before advancing against the next. 
In open country this would mean that the positions would 
be more than two miles apart, because the "efitctive"*' 
range of field artillery is 3500 yards, and most people 
think it is a good deal more. 

The great difficulty to be overcome by the rear-guard 



314 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

commander is to get back his troops in any sort of order, 
and it will be advisable, as a rule, to divide his line into 
sections, each under a separate commander, and, as sug- 
gested in Combined Training, take care that these 
sections when retiring do not converge on each other. 
The reconnoitring officer, therefore, would endeavour to 
discover suitable lines of . retirement for each section ; he 
would pay particular attention to the last point which 
must be held by the troops when withdrawing, and notice 
whether it is possible by distant artillery fire to cover this 
point with shrapnel, and how the artillery could be in- 
formed as to when they are to open fire. 

It is worth noting that with a comparatively small force 
like a rear-guard, whose only object is to delay the enemy, 
and at the same time secure its own retreat, it is better 
to avoid big open positions where the dispositions of the 
troops can easily be guessed, and which as a rule can easily 
be turned. Positions intersected by large woods, or better 
still along a river or stream, are much easier to hold and 
much more difficult for the enemy to attack. As a rule he 
cannot get good targets for his artillery in such positions, 
whereas the guns of the rear-guard can be placed in safety on 
the high ground behind the infantry instead of close along- 
side them. Of course, when the line of retreat from the 
river leads up open slopes which are under effective fire 
from the enemy's bank, such positions are unsuitable. 

A reconnaissance of ground for the purpose of securing 
a force when halted usually involves the establishment of 
a regular chain of outposts. When the main body is 
halted for a short time this is unnecessary, because the 
advanced, flank, or rear-guards provide the necessary 
security. It is sufficient, therefore, to deal with a situation 
where the main body has halted for the night. 

Outposts required immediately before or after a battle 
aj*e described in Combined Training, and are dependent 



RECONNAISSANCE— SECURITY 315 

on what is possible and not on what can be aiTanged 
beforehand. It is difficult, therefore, to reconnoitre ground 
for the purpose, though the method of establishing these 
outposts can form the subject for a tactical exercise on the 
ground, the immediate situation- being provided by the 
director. An exercise of this nature is explained in 
Chapter XVIII.— A. Outposts. 

The duties of outposts, as laid down in Combined 
Training, are, first, to protect the main body from sur- 
prise, and secondly, in case of attack, to gain time for the 
main body to occupy ground where it can fight. The 
reconnoitring officer must bear in mind these duties and 
frame his report accordingly. There are two distinct 
methods of guarding against surprise : the first is to watch 
and patrol the neighbourhood of the camp, and the second 
to watch the enemy so that he can make no movement 
without being observed. The first method until quite 
recently was advocated in Combined Training, and no 
mention was made of the second. The second method is 
now laid down, and no mention is made of the first. In 
war it is probable that either method would be employed, 
according to the circumstances of the case. There is no 
doubt that the second method is the best, when possible. 
The staff officer who in war reconnoitres the ground for 
outposts will usually confine his report to such details as 
it is necessary to convey to the officer commanding the 
outposts. The latter will then decide upon the exact dis- 
tribution of the troops. These details are laid down in 
Combined Training, and include the locality of the 
bivouac, the position to be occupied by the main body in 
case of attack, the general position to be occupied by the 
outppsts, the direction in which they are to retire, the 
degree of resistance which should be offered, the strength 
and composition of the outposts. 

The reconnoitring officer must take all these points inb 



316 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOUHS 

consideration, and it is advisable for him to have a copy 
of Combined Training in his pocket, so that he will not 
forget any important point. It is usual during a Staff 
Ride for three officers to be detailed for reconnaissance 
work in connection with a halt for the night. One officer 
works at the details of the bivouac, another officer decides 
upon the fighting position, and the third officer will arrange 
for the outposts covering the fighting position. These 
officers proceed to the gi'ound together, and must first 
locate the fighting position and the bivouac. The method 
of leconnoitring the ground for the fighting position is 
very similar to tliat described below under heading C. 
(S) Defence, because in the first instance the main body, 
moving out of the bivouac, will immediately adopt a de- 
fensive attitude, whatever subsequent course of action may 
be decided upon. The reconnaissance of a bivouac is 
described below under heading C. (4) Administration. 

The reconnoitring officer detailed to select the outpost 
position having ascertained the locality for the bivouac 
and for the fighting position, will proceed to the front and 
decide upon the best line to select for the outposts, having 
regard to the requirements of the particular situation and 
of the principles laid down in Combined Training. The 
mistake that is usually made is to cover the bivouac with 
outposts, but to fail in covering the fighting position. 
This is apt to lead to disaster, because the outposts may 
be driven off the fighting position before the main body 
has time to occupy it. If it is necessary to place the out- 
posts on the fighting position, the latter must be so strong 
naturally that the outposts will have little difficulty in 
resisting a hostile advance ; if, however, there is any chance 
of the outposts being driven back prematurely, an abnormal 
number of troops will be required in the outpost line. 

The report should commence with a brief statement 
describing the line selected, the chief reasons why it is 



RECONNAISSANCE— SECURITY 31 7 

better than any other possible line, the lines of retreat 
available, the amount of resistance that can be offered, 
the number of troops required, and the general facilities 
of ground for reconnoitring towards the enemy. The 
report can then deal with all these matters in detail. 
A description should be given of the comparative strength 
of the various sections of the line ; the localities where it 
is advisable to terminate each section ; the line of retreat of 
each section ; the result on the general line if one or other 
section is driven back ; the one or two important tactical 
points which it is essential to retain till the last ; the locality 
where each outpost company can best make a stand ; the 
facilities for communication, by signalling or otherwise, 
laterally and to the rear; any difficulties in connection 
with forwarding food and blankets to the outpost 
companies ; the nature of the country in front, whether 
suitable for patrolling, or whether it favours a hostile 
advance and a surprise attack ; the employment of cavalry, 
artillery, or machine guns. 

On a Staff Ride an officer can be directed to perform 
the double duty of reconnoitring officer and of officer 
commanding the outposts. In this case he would be re- 
quired during the evening to write the orders which 
would be issued by the officer commanding the outposts, 
details of which are given in Combined Training. In fact, 
if an officer attends to all the points which are so clearly 
laid down in that book, he cannot fail to write a good 
report and prepare good orders. 

If it is desired to reconnoitre an outpost position without 
maps, it is best to carry out a tactical exercise on the 
ground, as described in Chapter XVIII. — A. Outposts, the 
orders being written in the evening. A perusal of this 
exercise will bring to the notice of a reconnoitring officer 
some of the difficulties which usually arise, and which he 
must be prepared to deal with in his report. 



318 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS - 

C. (2) Reconnaissance of Ground for Attack. 

There are two types of reconnaissance for attack ; one 
is over ground which is still in the possession of our troops, 
but which may be shortly occupied by the enemy, and the 
other is when the enemy is already holding the position it 
is proposed to attack. 

Opportunities for the first of these two occur more 
frequently than is generally supposed. For example, a 
force might be compelled to fall back to a certain position 
to meet reinforcements, and then be sufficiently strong to 
attack. Or again, an advanced guard might gain a posi- 
tion which it was evident must be given up, and the 
position which the enemy would subsequently occupy could 
be reconnoitred before he captures it. This form of 
reconnaissance is, of course, far easier than the other, 
where the reconnoitring officer can rarely approach near 
enough to gain an accurate idea of the ground, and where 
sometimes he is compelled to view it from beyond the front 
of the enemy ^s outpost line. 

It is sufficient to describe the second, or more difficult, 
form of reconnaissance, because the reports on each would 
be drawn up in a similar manner. There are two methods 
of conducting a reconnaissance of this nature. One is to 
make a general examination of the ground, to discover the 
best direction for the main attack, how the artillery and 
cavalry should be disposed, where the local and general 
reserves should be placed, the general scheme of battle 
administration in rear of the fighting line, and the position 
to be occupied in case of failure. 

Such a reconnaissance would usually be made by the com- 
mander of the force himself. He would ride as close to the 
enemy's position as he could get ; he would make mental 
notes of all important details, and the result of his recon- 
naissance would be apparent in his orders. It is not usual 



RECOXNAISSANXE— ATTACK .Sip 

during a Staff Ride to direct the comnvuKler to write ;fi 
report on what he has seen and wliat he has decided to 
do, but there is no doubt that such a n^port is mi^s^t valu* 
able practice for the commander, though he would not write 
it in war. During a Staff Ride or a tactical exerci^ on 
the ground, we can do a great deal of work ** bv numliers*^ 
which must be done at the ** double^ in real war^ ai^d 
the advantage of this deliberate method, frani tlie pi>int of 
view of instruction, is very great. 

When preparing a report of this nature, it is necessary to 
consider the various principles which rule the attack, and 
which are laid down in Combined Training, The officer con* 
ducting such a reconnaissance should know every available 
item of information regarding the strategical, tactical, and 
administrative situation, vide" Instinictions to Reconnoitring 
Officers,^ Chapter XL He should, in fact, have apj>reciaio<l 
the situation from a strategical and administrative |)oint of 
view before commencing the tactical reconnaissance, '^^I'his 
would have enabled him to come to sound conclusions as to 
what it was possible and what it was desirable to do. llie 
tactical reconnaissance would disclose whether an attack 
which was to be recommended strategically was also to be 
recommended from a tactical point of view, or whether, 
considering the tactical difficulties, it would not l)e better 
to forego the strategical advantage following a successful 
attack on one flank, in order to make much more certain of 
success by utilising the tactical advantages connected with 
an attack on the other flank. The tactical advantages 
or disadvantages would be discovered by studying the 
ground, which can be seen, rather than by endeavouring 
to discover the enemy's dispositions, which can rarely be 
ascertained with any accuracy until a heavy attack has 
actually been delivered. 

The features of the ground in front will give some 
indication of the position the enemy is likely to hold., v\\A 



320 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

possibly where the flanks are located, though this latter 
point will usually be very doubtful. The nature of the 
position may also give some indication of the strength of 
the enemy's force — that is to say, whether such a position is 
likely to be held by an army corps or only by a division. 
Having gained some idea of the extent of the enemy'*s 
position, the reconnoitring officer should ride along the 
front, examine the ground carefully, compare the various 
features in front of the position, and consider whether 
they are favourable to the attack or the reverse. Above 
all he should endeavour to discover if there is any salient 
in the enemy's position, either along the front or on the 
flank, because such a point is a distinct weakness in the 
hostile dispositions for battle, and cannot always be avoided, 
owing to the features of the ground. 

Experience during peace exercises shows that officers are 
inclined to look upon an enemy's position as a fixed line 
with definitely located flanks ; that it is only necessary to 
select the flank which appears to be the most suitable to 
attack, move the troops to that flank, and deliver the 
attack. This idea has no doubt arisen from studying 
former battles, where cavalry were collected behind the 
line of battle, and were not employed with any vigour on 
the flanks. The modern method of using cavalry, when the 
advanced troops of the opposing infantry are once in con- 
tact, is to guard the flanks and assail the enemy's flanks. 
It is doubtful whethec the attacking cavalry will be able 
to drive back the defending cavalry, and thus lay bare the 
flank of the infantry defence, but until this is done it will 
be impracticable to launch an infantry attack against that 
flank, and it may be necessary to undertake two operations, 
one to assist the cavalry to drive back the hostile mounted 
troops, and the other to attack the enemy's flank. 

When studying the ground for attack, the reconnoitring 
officer should keep in his mind three distinct requirements. 



RECONNAISSANCE— ATTACK 32 1 

The selection of a suitable fire position where it may be 
anticipated that superiority of fire can be obtained over 
the defence. Secondly, the locality where the ground 
appears to favour an assault of the main position. Thirdly, 
the arrangements which must be made to guard ugainst 
counter-stroke. 

The type of ground which is best suited to the attack is 
not always understood. Some officers think that if there 
is a wood in front of the position, it will be an advantage 
to the attack, because the troops can reach the far edge 
of the wood without being seen and without heavy loss. 
The experience of war shows that a wood of this nature is 
a disadvantage to the attack, if the far edge is under hos- 
tile infantry or artillery fire. It is easy for the attacking 
troops to reach the far edge, but it is most difficult to do 
anything more when they get there. Woods and large 
villages absorb an enormous number of men both in the 
attack and the defence, and a comparatively small pro- 
portion of these are actually using their rifles with effect. 
It is very difficult to initiate an attack from a wood, 
because the various units become disorganised during their 
passage through it, and because it is very difficult to get 
orders conveyed through a wood and arrange for any 
simultaneous advance. It is also difficult to ensure 
artillery support, because the trees hide the target. 

Any physical or artificial features of the nature of a 
stream, or a hedgerow, especially when diagonal to the 
line of attack, though they sometimes give cover to the 
attacking troops, usually impair the cohesion and organisa- 
tion of the attack, and consequently its energy. 

The best ground for attack is where there are small 
undulations, with a few tactical points such as knolls, 
small woods, hamlets, farm enclosures, and small villages. 
These afford excellent points of direction for the attacking 
troops, good rallying points, which the engineers caw 



322 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

strengthen, in case of failure or counter-stroke, and, though 
they may be exposed to a heavy infantry or artillery fire 
from the defence, they usually afford a good deal of cover 
for the attacking troops. Furthermore, they provide con- 
venient stages for the attack, their capture or occupation, 
one after the other, being the successive objectives of the 
battalions or brigades in front line. 

The reconnoitring officer whilst examining the ground 
would note what extent of front to allot to each unit of 
the attacking force, according as to whether it was to 
deliver the main or the secondary attack. If there is any 
obstacle, such as a ravine or a wood, separating two parts 
of the attack, he would naturally make this a dividing line 
between two brigades, divisions, &c., so that the com- 
mander of each unit would have a better view of the 
ground and a better grasp of his troops than if the 
obstacle ran through the centre of his attack. 

In a general reconnaissance of this nature it is desirable 
for an infantry and an artillery officer to work together. 
The infantry officer can point out the infantry require- 
ments, and the artillery officer can indicate what it is 
possible for the artillery to do. If a report is written, the 
two officers should prepare it together, and not separate 
the infantry details from those of the artillery. 

The distribution of the cavalry would depend on the 
strategical situation, the opposition offered by the enemy's 
cavalry on one or both flanks, and the suitability of the 
ground for the action of the cavalry on one flank as 
compared with the other. It might be necessary to 
adopt a purely defensive attitude on one flank, if the 
ground is suitable, and thus release a larger number of 
cavalry for operations on the other flank. 

A study of Combined Training, under the heading 
"Attack,'" will disclose many other points which it is 
necessary for the reconnoitring officer to consider. The 



RECONNAISSANCE— ATTACK 323 

main object of the reconnaissance would be to compare 
different portions of the ground, weigh the advantages 
and disadvantages of one portion against those of another, 
and thus arrive at sound conclusions as to the distribution 
of the troops at the commencement of the battle, the 
locality for the main attack, the possibility of gaining 
a good fire position, the point to be assaulted, and the 
close co-operation of the cavalry, artillery, engineers, and 
administrative units with the infantry throughout the 
whole operation. 

A more detailed reconnaissance for attack would be 
made by commanders or staff officers of the divisions or 
brigades allotted to various parts of the front. The recon- 
noitring officer would be given clear instructions as to the 
particular part the division or brigade was to take in the 
attack. He would then reconnoitre the area of ground 
allotted to him in order to discover the best means of 
carrying out the attack. 

He should endeavour to picture in his mind the troops 
assembling for the attack, moving forward, deploying, 
advancing to the fire position by successive stages, and 
finally, if necessary, delivering the assault, the operation 
being supported throughout by the artillery, and helped 
forward by the engineers, administrative units, and, if on 
a flank, by the cavalry. 

His report, after a brief statement indicating the result 
of his reconnaissance, should be built up in this manner in 
logical sequence. He would consider the ground outside 
his area as regards the assistance his division or brigade 
could give to another on its flank, either by the capture 
of certain tactical points or by artillery fire. He would 
ascertain if any other unit of the force could by a certain 
course of action materially assist the operations of his own 
brigade or division. He would pay attention to the pos- 
sibilities of conveying ammunition to the front and tokva% 



324 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

wounded men to the rear, and would select suitable posi- 
tions for the various administrative units of the com- 
mand. 

He would study and report upon the best course to adopt 
if a counter-stroke were delivered against the front or either 
flank of his force, particularly as regards the action of the 
artillery and the best position for the local reserves. As 
in the last case, it would be desirable for an infantry officer 
to be accompanied by an artillery officer during the recon- 
naissan(!e, the two working together and furnishing one re- 
port. When an extensive position is to be attacked, several 
parties of officers can be detailed in this manner to make a 
reconnaissance for the attack of each division or brigade. 

Staff officers are trained to draw panoramic views of a 
hostile position ; these in open country are frequently 
useful both for the commandei's and for the artillery 
officers. Their chief drawback is that they present a view 
from one point only, and rarely portray the features of the 
ground so well as a map. When, however, there are no 
maps available, or the maps are very bad, these sketches 
are very useful, especially if names are given to the various 
prominent features, and when the sketches can be dupli- 
cated. 

C. (3) Reconnaissance for Defence. 

As in the case of attack, there are two types of recon- 
naissance for defence. One a general reconnaissance which 
a commander would make in order to decide upon the 
arrangements for counter-stroke, the locality and extent of 
the defensive portion of the position, the protection of its 
flanks, and the distribution of the ti'oops for defensive and 
offensive purposes. The other would be a more detailed 
reconnaissance to decide upon the exact distribution of the 
various units composing the force and the fortification of 
the position. 



RECONNAISSANCE— DEFENCE 325 

In the first case the reconnoitring officer would ride over 
the country and select what he considered would be the 
best defensive position for his purpose. It is assumed here 
that he desires to occupy the ordinary type of defensive 
position, where not more than a third or half his force is 
actually employed in the front line of defence, and the 
remainder is available for local reserves and above all for 
offensive action. 

Combined Training, though necessarily somewhat cautious 
when laying down principles which are intended to be of 
general application, states: "In order to win a decisive 
victory, and to crush the enemy, the defender, at some 
time or other, must leave his position and attack " ; again, 
" on the defensive he should never occupy a position, save 
in exceptional circumstances, with a view to merely beating 
back the attack ^ ; finally, " the troops will be divided into 
two main portions, one for the defence of the entrench- 
ments, and the other for the deliveiy of the decisive 
counter-stroke.**' " The improvement in modern llreanns 
admits of a larger portion of the force than was formerly 
the case being held as a general reserve."' 

Officers, when reconnoitring defensive positions, are apt 
to create in their minds an impassable barrier between 
attack and defence. They appear to consider that when 
one side is attacking, it can do nothing but attack, and 
when the other side is defending, it can do nothing but 
defend. They have heard of a counter-stroke, and may 
have studied examples of such an operation in history, but 
they do not appear to consider that it is the very life and 
essence of the defence, and that the latter is merely an 
agent to facilitate the counter-stroke. 

What is called "passive defence'*' can but delay the 
inevitable sequel — defeat. If by means of the delay other 
combinations can bear fruit, such as the defeat of the 
enemy in some other locality, or the concentration of 



326 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

superior forces to meet the enemy later, passive defence is 
justifiable, but in no other case can it be resorted to with- 
out the certainty of ultimate defeat. 

A plausible theory of defence, which it is advisable to 
examine, has been allowed to dominate the tactics of some 
commandei*s in the past, not always with success. The 
idea has been that a force should occupy a defensive posi- 
tion, allow the enemy to attack, and when he has become 
disorganised and demoralised, to issue from the position 
and deliver a great counter-stroke. This method was 
adopted with gi*eat success by Wellington at Salamanca, 
by Napoleon at Austerlitz, and on a few other occa- 
sions. There is, however, a great danger that the de- 
fender will wait too long, or employ too many troops in 
the defence, before deciding to deliver this great counter- 
stroke. In the result he is defeated before deciding that 
the right moment has arrived for the delivery of the 
couiiter-stroke. 

The difference between these two types of defence is very 
marked, and can easily be explained. In the Austerlitz or 
Salamanca type the dominating idea in the mind of the 
commander was to attack ; in the other type it was defence. 
In the first case the commander made all his arrangements 
for battle with the object of compelling the enemy to 
initiate a difficult attack, retaining meanwhile a powerful 
and well-placed force ready to attack over suitable ground. 
The defensive part of his project was merely intended to 
facilitate his attack, either by throwing the enemy's troops 
into confusion, exhausting their energy, deceiving the 
enemy as to his object, or simply to protect the flank of 
his attack and secure a rallying-point in case of failure. 

In the second case the commander has become so en- 
grossed with the defence,* and has used up so many troops 
in the passive occupation of ground, that any idea of 
attack appears to be an afterthought. During the battle 



RECONNAISSANCK^DEFENCE 



•m 



troops have been employed to strengtlien weak parts of the 
line of defence, and at the critical moment » when a heavy 
attack might change the wavering fortunes of the day, the 
reserves are neither well posted nor sufficiently powerful to 
produce any decisive result by means of a counter-stroke. 

When two men are fighting it occui^ frequently that 
one of them wishes to wear down the energy of the other 
by warding oft' blows rather than by returning them. His 
i^ole objects however^ is not to continue this method until 
his adversary is exhausted^ hut merely until the balance of 
remaining energy rests with himself. He then proceeds 
to carry out his original idea^ which was to attack and 
knock down his opponent. This appears to be the true 
principle to apply in war^ and reconnoiti'ing offieeni, when 
called upon to study a defensive position, will do well to 
bear it in mind. 

Such a scheme of operations appears to offer great 
t)pportunities for freedom of action, for surprise j and for 
decisive victory. A battle is a struggle between two 
opponents who are skilled masters in the art of war. Tlie 
passive defence of a goal or a wicket never won a football 
or a cricket match ; ueither will the passive defence of 
ground ever win a battle. The first duty of the recon- 
noitring officer is^ therefore, to determine what part of 
the ground is suitable for attack and what part for defence, 
and to ascertain if possible what is likely to he the dire*."- 
tiou of the enemy's main attack. For example, the re- 
connoitring officer uiay discover that the enemy cannot 
make a powerful attack against the left flank because 
of that big wood or that stream ; he is more likely, 
therefore, to attack the right flank. How can the offensive 
and defensive portions of the battle-field be utilised to 
deal with this probability to the hot advantage, and also 
to meet any unexpected event f" Shall the attacking part 
of the defenders' force l>c placet! three miles away to a 



328 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

flank, or close to the flank with sufficient room to deploy, 
oi' in the centre with each flank strongly defended ? 

Any one of these schemes is perfectly feasible, if only 
the ground is carefully reconnoitred, and suitable arrange- 
ments are made beforehand. There is no occasion to tie 
the attacking portion of the force too closely to the posi- 
tion occupied for defence — in fact, as a rule, it would be 
well placed somewhat wide of one of the flanks. 

Whilst traversing the position the reconnoitring officer 
should carefully note all tactical localities which can be 
strongly held, or which are likely to be the object of a 
powerful attack. Streams, woods, enclosed country, 
natural obstacles, &c., should be made use of to facilitate 
the defensive part of the scheme, and the more open 
country devoted to the attack. The method of artillery 
co-operation will, as usual, be of extreme importance, 
F.econd only to the facilities for infantry attack and 
defence, because the success of the latter is greatly depen- 
dent lipon the former. A commander who is advancing 
to the attack full of confidence sometimes neglects to 
make adequate aiTangements for defence, or in the endea- 
vour to make a wide turning movement leaves a dangerous 
gap between the two portions of his force, just as Marmont 
did at Salamanca and the Allies did at Austerlitz. In 
any case he cannot be strong everywhere, and if his main 
attack can be delayed by a strong defensive position, a 
favourable opportunity is presented for making a he^vy 
attack upon the weaker portion of his army. Officers 
when reconnoitring the defensive portion of the battle- 
field should pay great attention to the defence of the 
ffanks. The usual method is to refuse the flank ; this, 
however, creates a salient at the weakest part of the line 
where the enemy's main attack is likely to be driven home. 
If possible this salient should occur more towards the 
centre of the line of defence, where a holding attack may 



RECONNAISSANCE— DEFENCE 329 

be anticipated. The method in that case would be to 
hold the original flank with advanced troops, and pre- 
pare a second position in rear which would be the 
main line of defence, the inner flank of this second 
position resting on some part of the original line of 
defence. By this means a powerful front can be presented 
to the enemy's main attack. 

If the general reserve is placed well beyond and perhaps 
somewhat in rear of the flank, there is no occasion to 
adopt the above method, because if that flank is heavily 
attacked the reserve will be in a good position to drive 
back the assailant. Before finally deciding upon the 
general scheme of action the reconnoitring officer should 
ride out towards the front, and consider how he would 
attack if he was commanding the enemy's force. This will 
disclose many weak points in the defence and possibly 
the direction of the enemy's attack, besides furnishing a 
good idea of the enemy's artillery scheme of action. 

The report would commence with a general statement 
of the proposed scheme of battle, with the reasons for 
adopting it, and its main advantages and disadvantages. 
The offensive portion of the scheme would then be given 
in detail, with a full description of the advantages offered 
by the ground, facilities for the co-operation of the three 
arms, and alternative courses which might be adopted to 
meet unexpected events. 

The defensive portion of the battle-field would then be 
discussed, its comparative strength in various localities, 
the number of troops which would be required for its 
defence, and any alternative localities which should be 
fortified. The length of time and the approximate number 
of men and tools which would be required to complete the 
necessary field work and demolitions. How far the artil- 
lery on the defensive portion of the battle-field can per- 
form the double duty of assisting in the repulse of the 



330 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

enemy and, when the time arrives, supporting the counter- 
stroke. Finally the details of battle administration, and 
the facilities for retreat, should be dealt with. 

It will be observed that a position occupied in this 
manner enables the commander to adopt a definite plan of 
action. There is no nebulous idea that later on in the 
day a counter-stroke vmy be delivered ; the whole scheme of 
battle is based on attack. The defensive portion of the 
battle-field is a necessary adjunct to create the required 
situation, and to stand like a rock round which the fight 
will rage. The advantage will lie with the commander 
who makes the most skilful use of the ground, instead of 
inherently with the original attack. It is a battle, a 
great struggle for mastery, where blows are given and re- 
ceived, instead of an operation where one side attacks, 
while the other is content to receive and, may be, to ward 
off the blows, without striking out in return. 

After the general scheme of defence has been decided 
upon, reconnoitring officers would be required to execute 
the detailed reconnaissance of ground for each part of the 
force. The officers directed to work out the counter-stroke 
would be informed of the plan of operations and the exact 
locality of the defensive position. They would then con- 
duct their reconnaissance in the same way as suggested for 
an attack. Vide C. (2) above. The officers selected to 
work out the defensive portion of the scheme would con- 
duct their reconnaissance much in the same manner as 
that suggested in Chapter XVIII., page 422, for a tactical 
exercise on the ground. When preparing a position for 
defence the best method is to select a series of tactical 
localities along the front of the position, make these as 
strong as possible — that is to say, commence by fortifying 
them, so that they may form the framework of tlie whole 
defence. Each of these tactical points should be garri- 
soned, if possible, by a complete unit — a company, half a 



RECONNAISSANCE— DEFENCE 331 

battalion, or battalion, with artillery support carefully 
arranged for. 

These tactical points can easily be selected by consider- 
ing what would happen to the general line of defence if 
the enemy were to penetrate at any one point. If this 
point commands other parts of the position in the neigh- 
bourhood, or if the enemy, after capturing it, could make 
it so strong that it would be extremely difficult to retake 
it, then it is an important tactical locality, and special > 
arrangements must be made for its defence. If, on the 
other hand, the enemy after gaining this point could 
easily be driven back, or could not hold it because it is 
closely commanded from another part of the position, then 
it is not an important locality. 

On some very open positions, like parts of Salisbury 
Plain, it is not easy to select tactical points, because if the 
enemy were to penetrate at one point, the line of defence 
being level, or nearly so, he might be able to retain pos- 
session of the locality and render the remainder of the 
position untenable. When this is the case it is best to 
create artificial tactical points, with trenches run back to 
defend the flanks, ready for occupation if required. 

The great advantage of this system of defence is that it 
gives subordinate commanders in every part of the field 
a definite basis on which to frame their scheme of battle ; 
they understand that whatever happens these tactical 
points must not be allowed to fall, and when deciding 
upon the use of supports and reserves will be careful to 
retain sufficient for their defence. It is not intended that 
other parts 'of the line should be left unguarded, but 
merely that these important localities should be given the 
greatest attention. 

The object of the infantry and artillery defence should 
be to cover the ground over which the enemy will attack 
with the greatest possible number of shrapnel and rifle 



332 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

bullets ; hence a good field of fire is very essential. It is 
rarely possible, however, to find a position where this can 
be obtained in all parts of the field, and it will be the 
duty of the reconnoitring officer to pay more attention to 
the weak parts of the defence than to the strong ones, 
always excepting the defence of the tactical localities. 

A field of fire which is restricted by wood is not so .bad 
as one which is limited by the slopes or undulations of the 
ground. As we have seen in the attack, though the enemy 
may be able to establish a fire position at the edge of the 
wood, it will not be easy for him to issue from it by day, 
especially if the edge of the wood has been prepared for 
defence by cutting V-shaped clearings at intervals of about 
20 yards and piling the debris in an inverted V-shape 
between the clearings, thus making the edge of the wood 
in plan appear like a saw. It is extremely difficult to 
establish a fire position on the edge of a wood treated in 
this manner, and still more difficult to issue from it. A 
part of the position with a bad field of fire, which it is 
difficult to defend, can sometimes be safeguarded by post- 
ing supports ready to deliver a local counter-stroke if the 
enemy gets too close. Such a counter-stroke can usually 
be supported by covering fire from the defence, and 
probably will not be exposed to hostile artilleiy fire. 

A large wood on a flank or in the centre of the position 
is probably not such a disadvantage to the defence as to 
the attack, though no doubt it causes an uneasy feeling in 
the minds of the defenders, who credit the enemy with 
being able to attack through the wood without difficulty. 
It is essential that such a wood should be most carefully 
patrolled, and some part of it must be defended, if possible 
a corner on the main position. When there are no clear- 
ings existing, these should be made 20 to 30 yai'ds wide if 
possible, without any salients towards the enemy. It is 
quite immaterial whether the clearing is on the top of a 
billf on the slope, or on the foot, but the defenders should 



RECONNAISSANCE— DEFENCE 333 

not look up hill if it can be avoided. If no clearings 
can be made, the only course to adopt if the enemy attacks 
through the wood is to attack him. To judge by history, 
all stiniggles of this nature in a wood are fought out on 
the crest of any hill that may be in the wood, and the side 
which is attacking for the moment is more successful than 
the side which is defending. If it is necessary for the 
defenders to attack through a wood, sufficient troops 
should be employed in the fii-st instance to produce a 
decisive effect, otherwise reinforcements are certain to be 
required and a vast number of troops will be slowly sent 
into the wood without any adequate result. This may 
weaken other parts of the line, and the battle be lost in 
consequence. 

Where the field of fire is restricted by undulations of 
the ground, every endeavour should be made to provide 
flanking fire, care being taken that the troops so employed 
are not exposed to enfilade fire from the attack. Failing 
this, arrangements should be made by machine gun and 
magazine fire to pour such a hail of bullets on to the crest 
of the undulation in front that no one can advance from 
it. At the same time it should be remembered that the 
presence of attacking troops so close to the defenders' 
position will have a bad moral effect on the defence, and it 
may become necessary to deliver a local counter-stroke to 
drive back the enemy. 

If it is possible to clear any ground in front of the 
position, the reconnoitring officer should recommend the 
areas to be dealt with. Wholesale clearing is usually out 
of the question, but sometimes half an hour'^s judicious 
work will greatly strengthen the defence of the position. 
Perhaps the most important thing to look for is any 
obstruction to view, such as a hedge, a line of trees, or 
some bushes, behind which the artillery of the attack could 
find a concealed position which it would be difficult for the 
defence to locate. Otter clearinga sYiovsXi^ \ifc xsaa^^ ^^^wbsr 



334 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

hostile infantry might be compelled to lie out in the open 
in their endeavours to establish superiority of fire, or 
where the attacking infantry have to cross some obstacle 
or are likely to crowd in to a point. Standing com, high 
grass, mealies, or high crops of that nature are a great 
trouble to the defence ; they give a feeling of uneasiness 
to the troops, and afford opportunities for sudden assaults 
by small bodies of the enemy's troops. In dry weather 
most of them can be burnt ; otherwise they should be 
treated like woods, and clearings should be made. 

The most effective obstacles, either natural or artificial, 
are those which come as a surprise to the attack. It is 
desirable, therefore, to leave them if natural, and place 
them if artificial on the near slope of any undulation, out 
of sight of the fire position which the enemy would 
naturally occupy behind the crest. A long obstacle, such 
as a stream, thick hedge, or wire entanglement which runs 
diagonally across the line of advance of the attack, is very 
effective, especially if it is enfiladed from the main position. 
In fact, if there is plenty of time available, it would be 
desirable to construct such an obstacle on the ground 
where the enemy is likely to make his main attack. In 
order to increase the breadth of the obstacle across the 
front of the position and to reduce its length towards the 
enemy it can be run diagonally for some yards, and then 
parallel to the front for a few yards, and then again 
diagonally. Such an obstacle, however, would use up a 
great quantity of wire. 

Great attention has been paid in the past to the dimen- 
sions of various shelter trenches, and most of us have 
learnt a good deal on the subject. We are all familiar 
with the excellent rifle-pit which the soldier digs for him- 
self during company training, and which is usually provided 
with an elaborate loophole, which the man cannot shoot 
out of, and which would easily be knocked down by a golf 
ball We are generally required to dig these entrench- 



RECONNAISSANCE^DEFENCE S35 

merits behind a barrack wall, or in the ditch of an old fort, 
and it is quite immaterial from a tactical point of view 
whether the trench is dug seven or five yards away from the 
wall. This is good exercise for the muscles of the soldiers, 
but it does not teach either the officers or the men the 
exact tactical position where the trenches should be placed. 

During a tactical exercise on the ground, or during a 
reconnaissance for defence, great stress should be laid on 
the exact position of the trenches both for infantry and 
artillery, because, although we are not going to dig them, 
we can decide exactly where they would be dug in war, 
and this is very valuable instruction. It will be found 
that somewhat divergent views are held by different 
officers as to where they should be placed, and extremely 
valuable discussions will arise before a final decision can 
be given. 

The reconnoitring officer should bear in mind one im- 
portant point: however elaborate his scheme of defence 
may be, with flanking fire, advanced posts, &c., there 
should only be one main line of defence. The idea of 
occupying a forward position and then falling back and 
occupying a position in rear partakes of the nature of a 
withdrawal of troops that are heavily engaged. Every 
one is agreed that this is a hazardous operation, and if 
adopted in battle may lead to one or two undesirable 
results. Either the forward, and presumably the weaker, 
position will be reinforced, and the battle will be fought 
out under conditions which are not the best available, or 
when the forward position goes the back position will go 
too. 

It is safer in every way for every man in the force to 
know which is the main position to be held, and that it is 
the only position. The field of fire from part of it may be 
bad, but on an average the whole line of defence should 
be the best available. Advanced posts may be held by the 
defending troops, and ground still fartheT Iq \3cife Sx«\?X> ^i»xN. 



336 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

be occupied by outposts ; but very careful arrangements 
should be made for the outposts to withdraw when driven 
back, and for the advanced posts to be either reinforced, 
withdrawn, or left to their fate till nightfall, accoi-ding to 
the circumstances of the case. There is no serious objec- 
tion to having two lines of defence on a flank, as suggested 
when discussing the defence of a flank, because it is the 
lesser of two evils. The back position would be occupied 
as the main position directly it became apparent that the 
main attack was being delivered against the flank, and 
before the troops on the front position had become too 
heavily engaged to be withdrawn. Or a portion of this 
first position could still be occupied as an advanced post, 
as suggested above. The chief point to remember is that 
there is only one main line of defence, which is to be 
defended to the last, and that this line should contain no 
marked salients. 

There are many other points, such as the concealment 
of the shelter trenches, the provision of head cover, &c., 
which are clearly indicated in Combined Training, and 
which the reconnoitring officer can refer to during the 
progress of his work. 

There is one point which is also referred to in Combined 
Training, but which is worth emphasising. Under former 
conditions of war a blow against the flank of a defensive 
position has always been considered to be the most effective 
method of delivering an attack both from a strategical 
and a tactical point of view. The efficiency of this blow 
is greatly increased with the long-range weapons of the 
present day. TTie defence to meet an attack against its 
flank must to some extent form front to that flank, and 
this is the opportunity for the artillei-y of the attack first 
to enfilade the original line of defence from beyond the 
flank, secondly to enfilade from the front the defending 
troops that have formed to the flank, and thirdly to bring 



RECONNAISSANCE— ADM INISTRATION 337 

a great superiority of fire to bear on the angle between 
the front and the flank. 

With the old short-range artillery, as at Ligny, only a 
few French guns could bring converging fire against the 
salient at St. Amand, because there was no room for more. 
With the increase in range the length of arc on which the 
guns can be placed is enormously increased. The defence, 
on the other hand, has gained little or nothing in this 
respect ; the artillery and infantry fire from any salient 
must be divergent, and the positions available for guns 
are bound to be extremely limited. 

C. (4) Administration. 

Omitting battle administration, which has been suffi- 
ciently discussed already, reconnaissance for administrative 
work on the ground can be considered under the headings 
Bivouacs, Railways, Supply, Transport, and Lines of Com- 
munication. The present Field Service Pocket-Book is so 
full of information regarding these matters that a recon- 
noitring officer cannot do better than consult it whilst 
caiTying out his work. It may be useful, however, to 
suggest a few points which experience shows have been 
neglected in the past. A reconnoitring officer when 
writing his report, and after describing briefly the result 
of his reconnaissance, should pay particular attention to 
the most important matters, and should not crowd out 
these, or obscure their prominence, by inserting a lot of 
details which are really unnecessary and which could be 
relegated to an appendix. 

Reconnaissance for a Bivouac. — ITius, in a bivouac, 
the important administrative questions are the supply of 
water, food, forage, fuel, and blankets to the men and 
horses, facilities for getting out of the bivouac in good 
tactical order and sending back the administrative units 



338 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

which are not required. The health and rest of men 
and horses, the easy transmission of orders, the policing 
of any villages in the neighbourhood, facilities for getting 
into the bivouac on arrival, and the avoidance of any 
blocks or confusion in or near the bivouac. 

Officers do not always realise, when making their reports 
and sketches, that the water must reach the mouths of men 
and animals, otherwise it is useless. It is not sufficient to 
state in the report that horses are to water at the place 
marked A on the sketch, and men are to get drinking water 
from the place marked B. It must be remembered that the 
transport horses of the infantry and the riding and draught 
horses of the artillery and cavalry have to be taken down 
from their particular bivouac to A. If they all go down 
together by the same road, or by two roads which con- 
verge into one, and if they all come back by the same road, 
the result will be chaos. If, on the top of this, the trans- 
port arrives, and endeavours to get into camp, the roads 
become helplessly blocked ; half the horses get no water, 
and the men get neither their food nor their blankets. 
The reconnoitring officer must picture in his mind the 
arrival of the head of the column, the direction of each 
unit to its allotted bivouac, the orders to be given to each 
unit on arrival regarding water, &c. ; the watering of the 
horses, the filling of the men's water-carts ; the arrival of 
the transport, and the ordei*s it is to receive as to where it 
is to go to find its unit, and where the horses are to water ; 
when and where the supply waggons are to fill up after the 
day's ration has been issued to the men ; the routes that 
are to be taken by the units themselves and by everything 
that belongs to them when proceeding to their bivouac, 
when sending horses to water, or supply waggons to fill up ; 
the method of getting the fighting portion of the force out 
of the bivouac into its fighting position and the adminis- 
trative portion into a suitable and safe locality. 



RECONNAISSANCE— ADMINISTRATION 389 

If the reconnoitring officer follows out all these move- 
ments in imagination, and writes his report accordingly, 
he is certain to do good and useful work and to learn a 
good deal. The officer who has reported on the bivouac 
should also be dii'ected to write the orders that would be 
issued to the troops on arrival : these would include all 
instructions which it would be necessary to issue to each 
unit on arrival, as described above. The officer who 
reconnoitred the fighting position should, in conjunction 
with the officer who reconnoitred the bivouac, write orders 
for the occupation of the fighting position in case of the 
alarm being given. In these last orders the object would 
be to get the troops forming the front line of battle on to 
the ground as rapidly as possible, the remainder forming 
the local and general reserves to follow when the roads 
are clear. 

Reconnaissance of a Railway Station, — The recon- 
naissance of a railway station is usually required to ascer- 
tain the existing facilities for entraining and detraining 
fighting and administrative units, and loading or unload- 
ing stores of all kinds. As recommended for the other 
reconnaissances, the officer, when preparing his report, 
should follow, in imagination, the various operations that 
must be undertaken, and consider the arrangements it is 
necessary to make to facilitate each stage of the operation, 
and to anticipate and overcome all the difficulties which 
are likely to arise. For entraining troops he should con- 
sider what orders it would be necessary to issue to start the 
various units from their bivouac, and to bring them along 
suitable roads or tracks to the point of assembly near the 
railway station, in time to commence entraining at the 
required moment. He should then consider their require- 
ments whilst waiting at the place of assembly, the pro- 
vision of water, latrines and, in special cases, food and 
fuel. The object should be to arrange so that each unit 



340 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

directly after it has arrived will commence to entrain. A 
place for assembly is desirable, because it facilitates the 
allotment of duties and fatigues to various companies 
batteries, squadrons, &c., and enables the guns, waggons, 
and transport of all kinds to be collected in proper order 
for loading on the train. Each entraining platform there- 
fore should have its own separate place of assembly. 

The next thing to consider would be the provision of the 
necessary trains, at the proper platforms, at the required 
time. This would involve a careful examination of the 
railway station so as to use to the full its existing resources, 
and suggestions for such improvements or additions as 
time would permit. The reconnoitring officer should be 
informed, if possible, of the intervals of time at which 
trains can be received at the detraining station. If this is 
impracticable, he should draw up his time-table, with a 
due margin for safety, to show the intervals of time at 
which trains can be despatched. Later on, if it is found 
that the detraining station cannot receive trains at such 
a short interval, the time-table must be changed, though 
of course the intervals cannot be reduced. Having com- 
pleted all the necessary arrangements for bringing each 
unit on to its platform without interfering with other 
units or with shunting trains, the reconnoitring officer must 
arrange with the railway authorities the place where the 
trains are to be made up, how they are to be numbered 
and brought to their proper platform, how one train, 
which is too long for the available platform, must be cut 
in half, and each half shunted in turn to the required 
platform, and finally made up and despatched. If there 
is plenty of accommodation at the station, one platform 
should be kept vacant for any emergency which may arise, 
such as a breakdown when shunting or delay in loading. 
The unit which was to follow the one that is delayed can 
then be turned on to the spare platform, and though 



RECONNAISSANCE— ADMINISTRATION .'Ul 

one train will be delayed, the others will not be thrown 
out. 

To reconnoitre a station for detraining troops or stores 
the officer would follow in his mind the various stages in 
the operation, as suggested above, and would show in his 
report what arrangements should be made to fulfil the 
requirements of the troops at each stage. 

It is quite easy to imagine a train full of troops with 
their horses and some of their transport arriving at the 
prearranged platform. The men get out first : some who 
are not required proceed straight to the place of assembly 
outside the station ; others unload the hoi-ses and vehicles. 
No one on arrival knows where they have to go, or what 
they have to do ; but the station has been reconnoitred 
beforehand, arrangements have been made to overcome 
the most serious difficulties ; a polite staff* officer, who 
is acquainted with all the necessary details, is on the 
spot to help the regimental officers in every way he can, 
and the detrainment, instead of presenting a scene of noise 
and confusion, is a swift and orderly operation of war. 
The reconnoitring officer, bearing in mind these points, 
can easily foresee where the difficulties and confusion will 
arise. ITie platform at a certain place is narrow, and it 
will be difficult to get out the guns it is proposed to un- 
load there. The only obstruction to making it wider is a 
nine-inch brick wall or an iron fence. This is easily 
destroyed and freedom of movement obtained. Doors 
must be taken off^ their hinges, partitions knocked down, 
and in some cases the roof over the platform is too low 
and must be removed. The carriages containing the men 
can be shunted away and the whole platform used for 
unloading the guns, horses, or transport ; or if the men 
proceed in one ti*ain and the transport in another, the 
former can detrain without a platform and proceed to the 
station to unload their transport. 



342 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

A point of assembly for units detraining is more impor- 
tant than for those entraining, because in the first case 
the men come out of the train in driblets, and in the 
second case they arrive from their bivouac as a complete 
unit. Latrines must be prepared, and police provide!, so 
as to prevent the men of one unit leaving their platform 
to go anywhere except to their place of assembly. Arrange- 
ments must be made for the unit to march away from its 
place of assembly to its bivouac without crossing or inter- 
fering with any other unit which may be detraining at the 
same time. 

In all these operations it is desirable to have a few non- 
cDmmissioned officers on the platform simply to answer 
questions. A good deal of confusion and waste of energy 
is caused because neither the officers nor men know where 
they are to go or where they can find the latrines, place of 
assembly, &c. Men who ask legitimate questions are some- 
times treated like malefactors, though it is frequently 
necessary for them to know the information they seek, and 
there is no reason why it should not be given to them in a 
civil manner. We all recognise the importance of keeping 
the moral of the troops at a high standard, and nothing 
improves it so much as when they see that proper arrange- 
ments are made not only for their comfort, but that an 
operation of this nature should go without a hitch. 

It appears to be unnecessary to go into the multifarious 
administrative problems which require the reconnaissance of 
ground and buildings in war, as they can all be treated in 
the same way. The reconnoitring officer has only to pic- 
ture in his mind the arrival of the unit or of the stores, 
what it is intended to do with them, and how it is to be 
done. It is easy for the reconnoitring officer to consider 
the human requirements of the men, and the administrative 
requirements of the stores in the way of protection from 
weather, breakage, looting, conveyance elsewhere, storage, 



SKETCHES 343 

&c. ; and then, after a careful examination of the locality, 
he can decide what it is best to do. Above all let him 
follow in imagination the complete operation, and arrange 
his report accordingly; he is then certain to remember 
important points which otherwise he might forget, and 
his work will be better and more practical than if based 
entirely on a long list of requirements taken from a book. 

D. Sketches. 

A sketch should be better than the map from which it 
is copied. This is a maxim which it is well for the recon- 
noitring officer to bear in mind, and he may save himself 
a vast deal of unnecessary labour and produce more useful 
work. 

Sometimes there is no map available, or the map is so 
bad or so inaccurate that an indifferent sketch is better 
than the map, and instead of being copied from the map 
it must be drawn from the ground ; but in any case the 
above maxim still holds good. 

There is another point about sketching which it is as 
well to realise : however good the operator may be, it takes 
a long time to make a sketch of a piece of ground unless 
there is a good map available to copy from. This seriously 
detracts from the general utility of sketching, and we find 
that though in peace exercises we do a good deal of sketch- 
ing, we do little or none when we go to war. In war there 
is too great a demand on the time and energy of staff 
officers to do much in the way of sketching, unless two 
forces are opposing each other in the same locality for 
several days, or even weeks, as occurred in South Africa 
and in Manchuria. There is no doubt, however, that 
military sketches in the vicinity of where a force is 
operating are very valuable if systematically organised 
and special officers told off for the work. Troops of the 



344 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

British Army are constantly required to penetrate into 
unmapped districts, and a military sketch of such a 
district will be invaluable when later on another foroe 
is required to go to the same region. 

It is desirable, therefore, for staff officers to practise 
sketching during these peace exercises, and with a little 
trouble, perseverance, and good instruction the worst 
exponent of the art can be taught to produce work which 
is distinctly better than a bad map. Sketches are required 
even more for administrative than for strategical or tactical 
purposes. They are usually on a large scale, and portray 
some small locality, like a post on the lines of communica- 
tion, a railway station, or a bivouac. 

Sketches, even of the roughest nature and when only 
one copy can be made, are extremely useful for a bivouac. 
The staff officer who meets the troops can show the com- 
mander the sketch and tell him : " You are to follow that 
track till you come to three trees standing 100 yards west 
of the road. Your bivouac is anywhere north of an east 
and west line through those trees. A brigade of artilleiy 
will be bivouacked south of you and west of the road, and 
a brigade of infantry south of you and east of the road. 
Your horses are to proceed to water by this track and 
come back by this one ; the water-carts for drinking water 
are to go along this track and return by it. After 6 p.m. 
you are not to use any of these tracks, as they will be 
required by such and such a brigade. A non-com- 
missioned officer is posted at the three trees to show the 
way to the water, and your men are not allowed to go any 
other way. Your transport will come in to your bivouac 
by this road,'' &c. 

It is not difficult to prepare a sketch which is sufficiently 
accurate to illustrate the staff officer's directions as ex- 
plained above, and the sketch gives the commander a clear 
idea of where every one is and what he has got to do, even 



SKETCHES 345 

if he cannot take the sketch with him. When dealing 
with a railway station two sketches are usually required : 
one, on a large scale, to show the administrative details 
inside the station, and the other, on a much smaller scale, 
to show the places of assembly, latrines, road to the 
bivouacs, &c. The fireL sketch can be bounded by the 
ground where the operation is actually to take place — that 
is to say, the railway lines and those platforms where the 
waggons, guns, stores, &c., are to be unloaded. Directly 
the teams are hooked in or the men march away they 
would come on the small-scale sketch. Large sketches 
covering several square feet of paper are out of place in 
war, and should be discouraged during peace exercises. 
When it is necessary to illustrate a large area of country, 
such as the lines of communication of an army, it is best 
to have a small-scale map, and draw on it squares repre- 
senting the areas which have been sketched on a larger 
scale. 

It is very important that all military sketches should be 
printed up with reference to the north point, even if the 
edges are not orientated. It is most confusing for a com- 
mander who is constantly looking at the map, which is 
always printed up with reference to the north, to have to 
inspect and act on a sketch which appears to him to be all 
crooked. He knows the relative position of all important 
places on the map, and it is much easier for him to follow 
a sketch if it is printed in the same manner. 

When a report is accompanied by a sketch, the infor- 
mation in the latter should be confined to such matters as 
any one would naturally look for when he was examining 
the sketch. For example, it is much better to put in- 
formation regarding the surface of the gi'ound on the 
sketch than in the report, whereas it would be easier to 
understand a complicated description of how troops could 
be watered by giving the details in the report or in an 



346 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

appendix, instead of drawing a lot of an*ows or dotted 
lines over the sketch. The number of pencil-marks that 
can be placed on a sketch is limited. Directly the sketch 
becomes confiised it loses greatly in value, so that if there 
is any prospect of this it is advisable to put letters on the 
sketch, with corresponding letters attached to the necessary 
information in the margin. Lines drawn from a marginal 
note to a spot on the sketch to indicate where the note 
applies are confusing except for panoramas or road reports* 

A sketch, like a report, should be prepared so that the 
greatest prominence is given to the most important mili- 
tary requirement at the moment. If it is the shape of the 
ground, the contours should be clearly marked and other 
details put in faintly. If the roads are the important 
item, then they should be shown more clearly than other 
features, and so on. It is always desirable to draw an 
an^ow on the margin of a sketch showing the direction and 
distance to some prominent town or place, even though 
forty miles away, which every one knows {see the S.E. 
corner of Sketch No. 23). If at the same time the 
sketch is printed up with reference to the north point, 
the strategical, tactical, or administrative situation 
described in the report or on the sketch can be readily 
grasped. 

Sketches sent in with a report should always be folded 
neatly, and never rolled up. It is most difficult to refer to 
a sketch which is constantly trying to twist itself up. 
Finally, there should be a heading on the sketch to show 
what it refers to, so that if it gets detached from the 
i-eport it will not become incomprehensible. 

jE. Diagrams aiid Graphics, 

There are so many different types of administrative 
work which require the use of diagrams or graphics 



DIAGRAMS AND GRAPHICS 347 

that it is difficult to give any accurate idea of how 
they should be prepared. Their chief object is to 
save long descriptions in prose, to simplify a com- 
plicated proposal of action and render it easier to 
understand. 

An officer who prepares a document of this description 
sets to work in a manner which to him appears to be the 
best, but it is not always easy to discover the system on 
which he has worked. If the officer is present he can 
explain matters in a few words, and then everything is easy, 
but otherwise it takes some time to discover his meaning 
and appreciate his proposals. 

Indifferent work of this nature is usually caused by a 
failure to keep in mind the main question at issue, and to 
allow it to become obscured by a mass of detail which is 
not always easy to follow. This detail is essential, but 
so far as possible it should be kept apart from the 
portion of the work where the results are produced, and 
it should be so arranged that these results can easily be 
verified. 

For example, one of the most complicated administra- 
tive problems of war is to arrange for the supply of a 
force which is about to operate several days' march distant 
from the advanced dep6t. On the frontiers of India, where 
the roads are bad and pack transport is required, the 
complication is increased. 

We will suppose, therefore, that a division in India is 
required to operate five days' march distant from the 
advanced depot, and that mule transport is required to 
keep it supplied. A certain amount of grazing is avail- 
able, but half a ration of hay (or its equivalent) is to be 
carried to feed every mule working on the line of com- 
munications. The division is to leave the advanced 
depot on June 1, and 10 per cent, spare mules are to be 
taken. 



348 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The main questions at issue are the number of mules 
which must be despatched with the division in the first 
instance, how they should be organised, and how many 
should leave the advanced depot each day in order to 
keep the division supplied and to feed the mules on the 
line of communications. 

Before commencing to work out the problem, we should 
in our minds appreciate the situation and make some 
private calculations which can be accepted without details 
in the finished work. 

It is plain that if the division is going to start from 
the advanced depot and march for five days without 
stopping, it will be necessary for five days' supplies to 
march with the division. As each day's march is com- 
pleted, the mules that have earned the supplies for that 
day, having finished their work, can return the next 
day towards the advanced depot to bring up more 
supplies. 

The Field Service Pocket-Book informs us that a divi- 
sion in India requires 131,659 lb. of supplies daily. The 
division must start on June 1 with 131,659 X 5 lb. of 
supplies. These supplies must be carried by mules ; other 
mules will be required to feed these animals, and also to 
deposit forage at the various stages on the line of com- 
munications, to feed the mules returning for fresh supplies. 

Our first object is to discover how many mules must 
leave the advanced depot and accompany the division 
during its first day's march. There are three methods of 
approaching this problem, but only one of them is satis- 
factory. First we can divide the total weight of five days'* 
supply for the division by a mule's burden (160 lb.) and 
ascertain the number of mules required to carry it, add 
10 per cent, spare, and then calculate how many more 
mules are required to carry forage for the first-mentioned, 
and how many more for the second, and so on till we come 



DIAGRAMS AND GRAPHICS 349 

down to half a mule. If we adopt this plan we shall find 
that great complications arise, and that it is most difficult 
to arrive at any finality. 

For example, we ascertain that 131,659 X 5 and 
divided by 160 gives 4114 ; add 10 per cent, spare, and 
we get 4:5^5. A mule's ration, according to the conditions 
given, amounts to 6 lb. of hay and 6 lb. of grain ; add 
J lb. for a proportion of the driver's ration and we get 
12i lbs. Transport must be provided, therefore, to carry 
4525 X Ui lb., a total of 56,562 lb. This, if divided 
by 160, will give us the number of mules that can carry 
it, i.^., 354. Forage for these 354 can be carried on 
354 X 12J divided by 160, which amounts to 53 mules. 
Five more mules are now required to carry their own 
rations and those for the 53. 

So far we have provided transport for one day only. 
Some of these mules will be going on for five days, some 
for four, and some for three, &c., and it is not easy to dis- 
cover how many will be returning each day. In fact, 
any one who attemps to solve the problem, working on 
these lines, will cover many pages of foolscap with figures, 
and at the end discover that he is no nearer a definite 
and accurate plan than he was at the commencement. 

The second method is to calculate the weight of the 
rations required by the nmles before they return to the 
advanced depot, deduct this weight from 160, and the 
balance will give the proportion of the divisional supplies 
which can be carried by each mule. For example, ten 
days' supplies for a mule will be 125 lb. ; this deducted 
from 160 gives 35 lb. Thirty-five pounds divided into 
131,659 X 5 gives 18,808 mules, which could caiTy five 
days' supplies for the division and feed themselves for ten 
days. But here we have a great waste of strength, because 
if the mules are to go forward with the division many of 
them will be carrying nothing after the first day, and will 



350 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

still be eating food themselves, and it will be extremely 
difficult to ascertain how many mules will be free to return 
to the advanced depot each day. 

The third method, which discloses the best way ot 
dealing with most of these administrative problems, is to 
begin at the end and work backwards. If we can discover 
our requirements on June 6, when the division is reaching 
its destination, we can also discover our requirements <m 
the remaining days till we get back to June 1. 

It is plain that the division on June 5 must be accom* 
panied by a column of mules carrying 131,659 lb., and 
also sufficient rations for their own consumption. Further- 
more, that another column of mules cariying the same 
amount must arrive on June 6, another column on 7th, 
and so on. Forage for the first column of mules must be 
available all along the line of communications to feed the 
returning mules. We are concerned, however, for the 
moment with the number of mules that are to march with 
the division on June 5, from the fourth to the fifth stage. 
(See Graphic and Diagram on back of Sketch No. 1.) 

Each mule will require one day'*s ration, so that, however 
the loads may be distributed, the available carrying power 
of every mule is 160 less 12J lb., and less 10 per cent, of 
12J lb. for the ten spare mules that carry nothing — ^that is, 
160 less 13-75 lb., i.e., 146-26 lb. If we divide 131,669 
by 146*25 we shall get the number required, viz., 901 mules. 
Add 10 per cent, spare and we get 991. We can now 
separate the supplies for the division from the forage. 
The division requires 131,659 lb. ; this divided by 160, a 
mule's full burden, will give us 823 ; add 10 per cent, spare, 
and we get 905 mules who carry nothing but supplies for 
the division, and which we will call the supply column. 
TTie remaining 86 mules carry nothing but forage for them- 
selves and the 905 mules. These 86 we will call the forage 
column. We will verify this last number before proceeding. 



DIAGRAMS AND GRAPHICS 351 

There are 991 mules to be fed ; each requires 12^ lb., 991 X 
l^J =12,387J, which divided by 160 is 78 mules' burden ; 
add 10 per cent, and we get 86 mules, which is coiTect. 
We see, therefore, that the total weight carried forward 
from the fourth to the fifth stage is 1 31,659 + 12,887-5 lb., 
a total of 144,046 lb. 

We can now ascertain the number of mules which will 
be required to accompany the division from the third to 
the fourth stage on June 4. Two days' supplies must be 
carried for the division; one to be consumed on the evening 
of 4th and one on the 5th. We have already discovered 
that 144,046*6 lb. must be carried forward from the fourth 
to the fifth stage on June 5, and to this we must add 
131,659 lb., one day's supplies for the division, to be con- 
sumed on the evening of June 4, a total of 275,705*5 lb. ; 
this we will call the initial weight to be carried forward 
from the third to the fourth stage on June 4. The number 
of mules required to carry this and also one day's forage for 
themselves amounts to 276,705*5, divided by 146*25 lb. — 
that is, 1886 mules. Add 10 per cent, and we get 2074 
mules. Of these we have already seen that 991 must go 
on from the fourth to the fifth stage on June 5, and the 
remaining 1083 can return unloaded from the fourth to 
the third stage on June 6. If we multiply 2074 by 12*5, 
the weight of one day's forage for a miile and a proportion 
of the driver's kit and ration, and add the 275,705*6 lb., 
we shall get the total weight to be candied forward from 
the third to the fourth stage on June 4 — that is, 
301,630*5 lb. 

In the same manner, the initial weight to be carried 
forward from the second to the third stage on June 3 
will be 301,630*5 lb., plus one day's rations for the 
division, 131,659 lb., a total of 433,289*5 lb. This 
divided by 146*25 gives us 2963 mules. Add 10 per cent., 
3259. Of these we have already seen that 2074 must go 



352 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

on from the third to the fourth stage, and the remaining 
1185 can return from the third to the second stage on 
June 4. If we multiply 3259 by 12-5 and add the 
433,289-5 lb., we get 474,027 lb., which is the total weight 
carried forward from the second to the third stage on 
June 3. 

The initial weight to be carried forward from the first 
to the second stage on June 2 will be 474,027 + 181,659 lb., 
that is 605,686, which can be carried by 4142 mules ; add 
10 per cent., 4556. Of these 3259 go on to the next stage 
and 1297 return. The total weight carried forward from 
the first to the second stage on June 2 amounts therefore 
to 4556 X 12-5 + 605,686, which is 662,636. 

The initial weight to be carried from the advanced 
depot to the first stage on June 1 will be 662,636 + 
131,659 lb.— that is, 794,295 lb., which can be carried by 
5432 mules ; add 10 per cent., 5975. Of these 4556 go on 
to the next stage and 1419 return. The total weight 
carried forward from the advanced depot to the first stage 
on June 1 amounts therefore to 5975x12*5 + 794,295, 
which is 868,982-5 lb. 

This completes the calculation required to ascertain the 
number of mules (5975) and the weight of supplies 
(868,982-5 lb.) which must leave the advanced depot 
with the division on June 1 in order to feed it daily 
till it arrives at the fifth stage on the evening of 
June 5. 

We must now produce another day's supply for the 
division at the fifth stage to feed it on the evening of 
June 6, and we can again work backwards as before, only 
in this case we only reijuire to send one day's rations up 
the line of communications. The number of mules and 
weight of rations to go forward from the fourth to the 
fifth stage on June 6 is the same as on June 6 — that isj 
991 mules and 144,046-6 lb. 



DIAGRAMS AND GRAPHICS 353 

The initial weight to be carried forward from the third 
to the fourth stage on June 5 will be therefore 144,046*5, 
because this column of mules is not feeding the division at 
every stage, as was the case before. 985 mules can carry 
144,046-5 lb., add 10 per cent., 1083 ; of these 991 go on 
to the next stage and 92 return. The total weight carried 
forward is 1083 xU'5 + 144,046*5 lb., a total of 157,584 lb. 

Similar calculations will disclose the number of mules 
and weight of supplies which must leave the second stage 
on June 4, the first stage on June 3, and the advanced 
depot on June 2. 

We can put these details into the form of a diagram 
or of a graphic (vide back of Sketch No. 1). The latter 
is the clearest, and shows at a glance where every mule is 
to be found on any particular day. The thin horizontal 
linos represent time, and the thin vertical lines represent 
space. All diagonal lines represent whatever is in motion, 
troops, transport, &c. ; in this case, of course, they repre- 
sent the columns of mules. 

The left hand top square is marked June 1 on the top 
and advanced depot on the left. We continue the dates 
on the top to the right, and insert the stages on the left 
of the squares towards the foot of the page. 

Five columns of mules, each carrying one day's supplies 
for the division, leave the advanced depot on June 1, and 
accompany the division. Each column is shown on the 
graphic by a thick black line. The column of 1419 mules 
which supplies the division on the evening of June 1 on 
arrival at the first stage is shown on June 2 by a thinner 
line returning unloaded to the advanced depot. 

Similarly the column of 1297 mules which supplies the 
division on the evening of June 2 on arrival at the second 
stage is shown returning unloaded to the first stage on 
June 3, and so on with the column of 1185 mules, &c., 
returning on June 4, &c. 



354 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

One column of mules with one day's supply for the 
division leaves the advanced depot on June 2, and is shown 
by a thick black line. The mides carrying forage for the 
other mules are shown each day returning unloaded to the 
last stage. Thus, on the evening of June 4, 1185 mules 
carrying 1725396*5 lb., including 10 per cent, spare 
mules, which carry nothing, arrive at the third stage. 
102 of these mules, including 10 per cent, spare, were 
carrying one day's forage for themselves and the other 
mules; these return unloaded on June 5 to the second 
stage. 

Some complications enter into the calculations for the 
crJumn of mules which is required to leave the advanced 
depot on June 3, canying one day's supply to feed the 
division on the evening of June 7. The unloaded mules 
from the five columns which started on June 1 are return- 
ing to the various stages, and must be fed when they 
come in. 

The graphic is of great assistance in ascertaining at a 
glance the number of mules that ai*e returning at each 
stage. We must commence at the fifth stage on the even- 
ing of June 7, and we find that the number of mules to go 
forward from the fourth stage and the weight of supplies 
to be carried is the same as on June 6, 991 mules taking 
forward 144,046*5 lb. 

The initial weight to be carried forward from the third 
stage on June 6 is therefore 144,046*5 lb. But we find 
that 991 mules arrive at the fourth stage from the fifth 
stage on the evening of 6th, so we must carry forward one 
day's forage for them— that is, 991 X 12*6 = 12,387*6 lb. 
The weight to be carried forward from the third stage on 
June 6 is therefore 144,046*6 lb. -|- 12,387*6 lb. « 
166,434 lb. This requires 1070 mules, add 10 per cent., 
1177. TTie total number of mules arriving at the fourth 
stage on the evening of June 6 will be 1177 + 991 = 2168. 



DIAGRAMS AND GRAPHICS 355 

Of these 991 go on, on 7th, to the fifth stage, and 1177 
return unloaded on 7th to the third stage. 

In the same manner we can ascertain the number of 
mules and weight of rations which must go forward from* 
the second stage on June 5, from the first stage on 
4th, and from the advanced depot on June 3, as shown 
on the diagram and on the graphic. The column of 
mules which leaves the advanced depot on June 4 and 
subsequent dates can be calculated in exactly the same 
manner. 

On June 10 we find that 1973 mules are working daily 
between the advanced dep6t and the first stage; 1661 
mules between the first and second stages; 1398 between 
the second and third stages; 1177 between the third and 
fourth stages ; and 991 between the fourth and fifth stages. 
These numbers would remain constant so long as the 
division drew its supplies from the fifth stage. Many 
complications might enter into these calculations; for 
example, the division might be required to advance farther 
from the advanced depot, the line of communication troops 
at each post must be fed, or it might be desired to collect 
several days' supplies for the division at the fifth or any 
other stage ; or, again, different forms of transport might 
be employed, such as mules, camels, elephants, bullock 
waggons, &c., part of the supplies being forwarded in one 
manner and part in another. Any one of these complica- 
tions can easily be arranged for, provided we always begin 
at the end and work backwards. 

The great object should be that no transport lies idle at 
any one stage, and no transport, except the 10 per cent, 
spare, goes forward empty. 

The total number of mules employed on the line of 
communications on any particular date can easily be 
ascertained by adding together those that have left the 
advanced depot and subtracting those that have return^ 



356 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

to it Thus, on the evening of June 4, 5976 + 1419 + 1908 
+ 1 573 - 1419 - 122 = 8037 mules are working on the line. 
On the evening of June 10 or on any subsequent date the 
total remains the same and can be ascertained by merely 
adding up the number of mules working between each 
stage, which amounts to 14,400. 



CHAPTER XVII 

REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The scheme for a Regimental Tour can be prepared in the 
same manner as that suggested for a single Staff Ride, 
where only one side is represented by a pai-ty of officers, 
vide Chapter IX. 

The scheme is of little importance compared with the 
tactical and administrative exercises on the ground. It is 
necessary as a foundation on which to base the various 
exercises, and also to introduce the required atmosphere of 
strategy and tactics. Though we do not wish to work out 
strategical problems, a certain amount of strategy is neces- 
sary in order to create a true tactical situation. For 
example, there should be a strategical as well as a tactical 
reason why one part of an attack is stronger than another, 
or why one part of a position should be occupied defensively 
while another pai*t is used for attack, or why it is necessary 
to guard or secure one flank more carefully than the other 
either in attack or defence. 

It is also desirable to have some continuity in the various 
operations it is proposed to work out, so as to make them 
more realistic, easier to follow, and more interesting for 
the officers than when a fresh scheme is issued every day. 
In the latter case there is a considerable strain on the 
resources of the director, and still more on the imagination 
of the officers who have to work them out. 

The scheme should be prepared so that a different class 
of tactical operation can be studied each day. For 



358 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

example, the director might wish to practise outposts one 
day, a small engagement another day, and an advance or a 
retreat the third day. It is most important that the 
regimental officers should be given opportunities of study- 
ing on the ground the class of operation they are likely 
to be called upon to deal with when they go to war. 
For this reason the size of the force should be limited to a. 
couple of battalions, a battery or section of artillery, and a 
troop or squadron of cavalry, with the necessary adminis- 
trative detachments. 

Operations in which regimental officers take part on a 
large scale, such as an attack by a battalion forming part 
of a division, can be practised with real men during brigade 
and divisional training, or as an independent tactical 
exercise near the headquarters of the unit, as described 
in Chapter XX. The object of a Regimental Tour is to 
place officers in a somewhat independent position, where 
they must think and act for themselves, just as they are 
required to do when they are detached without any Generals 
or staff to help them in real war. 

It is desirable to create a detachment of all arms, 
because it is good practice for regimental officers to 
study combined operations and learn something of the 
methods, requirements, and difficulties of other arms than 
their own. 

With such a small force the scheme must be laid in a 
district where there is some sort of physical obstacle, like 
a large river, a range of hills, &c., which can only be 
crossed at a few places. Two battalions do not wander 
about a theatre of war, unless they are assisted by some 
physical obstacle to protect their fi'ont, or at least one 
flank, otherwise they are almost certain to be cut off and 
annihilated. ITie area selected should, if possible, be 
close to the place where the officers are to stay, so that 
no delay or expense will be involved in reaching the 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 859 

ground. The ground should be broken, with small 
features, such as hills, farmsteads, woods, and hamlets, 
which will afford suitable tactical points to be attacked, 
defended, or watched. Open country such as great rolling 
downs, with few woods, farms, &c., is unsuitable for the 
purpose. A small force is lost in such country, which is 
more fitted for the operations of several divisions. 

It cannot be expected that such areas will be found 
without some difficulty, and it is essential therefore that 
the ground should be selected first and the scheme drawn 
up to suit it. If the scheme is prepared first without 
visiting the ground, it is almost certain that the latter will 
prove to be inappropriate. There is no objection to hold- 
ing the exercise near the sea, because this would secure at 
least one flank of the detachment. There is also no reason 
why a river should not be supposed to be larger than it 
really is, in order to increase its utility as an obstacle. It 
is a mistake, however, to make any other imaginary altera- 
tions in the features of the country where the operations 
are actually to take place, though there is no objection to 
supposing that mountains, defiles, passes, &c., exist out- 
side this area, provided their locality is clearly explained 
with reference to the map or to a specially prepared 
sketch. 

Regimental officers take more interest in the work if the 
scheme is based on some definite example from history 
(vide Chapter VII.). They realise that they are not being 
asked to do more than has been done by a similar detach- 
ment in analogous circumstances in real war. The scheme 
can be much shorter, and a brief account of the historical 
operations can be issued to the officers before they assemble. 

The method of conducting the Tour is much the sanie as 
that already described in Chapter X., Mountain Warfare. 
The whole of the officers are taken on to the ground each 
day, and work out under the director the particular 



360 STAFF Rli3ES AlSfD REGIMENTAL TOURS 

tactical or administrative problem which it is proposed to 
deal with. A series of situations is given, and great 
attention is paid to the movements of the small units of a 
force, such as a company, troop, or section of artillery. It 
should be explained to the officers that the object of the 
exercises is not only to give them opportunities of study- 
ing on the ground the solution of small tactical problems, 
but also to instruct them in the art of teaching their own 
non-commissioned officers. For this reason, whenever it is 
decided to attack, the director should consider the question 
from the point of view of the officer commanding one of 
the leading companies. He should carefully discuss the 
verbal orders issued to this officer by the battalion com- 
mander, and then follow out, over the ground, the attack 
of this company. 

It may be considered that it is difficult to do this with- 
out the company being actually present, but this is not 
the case. The company commander must first decide what 
scouts should be sent out and what they are required to 
do, then how many sections he should deploy, the direction 
of their advance, how the remainder of the company is to 
follow, &c. The same sort of thing applies to an officer 
commanding a battery or section of artillery, or a troop of 
cavalry. Any one can manoeuvre small detachments of 
cavalry or infantry over open, undulating country, but in 
broken country it is not easy to see how guns can be 
brought up without being seen, the best position to place 
them where they can give effective support to the infantry, 
and where they are not themselves unduly exposed to sudden 
attack. 

With small detachments artillery co-operation is more 
difficult than with large forces, because the troops occupy 
a comparatively narrow front ; the artillery must keep out 
of range of hostile infantry fire if they wish to retain power 
of movement, the flanks are not well protected, eoid the 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 36l 

small infantry reserves are close to the front line. If 
escorts are to be provided for the guns the offensive power 
of the infantry is seriously reduced, so that with these 
small detachments infantry and artillery co-operation 
requires special consideration. Security is obtained by 
distant cavalry patrols rather than by the defensive action 
of infantry, and we see therefore that the combined action 
of the three arms is even more important with a small 
detached force than it is with a large force, the integral parts 
of which are specially constituted to look after themselves. 

For an infantry or ai-tiUery Regimental Tour the services 
of an officer of the other arm should be obtained to conduct 
the operations of his own arm. For a cavalry Regimental 
Tour this is unnecessary, because small bodies of cavalry 
act so constantly without assistance from horse artillery or 
infantry that there is no occasion to introduce those arms. 
An infantry or an artillery Regimental Tour can be con- 
ducted on the same lines, so that it is only necessary to 
describe a method which would be suitable for both. 

It is undesirable for regimental officers to be given a 
good map during these exercises. They will be compelled 
to use a small-scale map in war, for the good reason that 
sufficient large-scale maps could not be carried with the 
field army. A map on the scale of one mile to a quarter 
of an inch is the best ; failing this, one mile to half an inch 
should be used. The beautiful maps with the heights 
coloured on the " layer ^ system should be avoided ; such 
excellent maps would rarely be available in war. It is 
very important that regimental officei*s should study the 
ground rather than the map, which is another reason why 
a small-scale map is preferable. Officers who are accus- 
tomed to use a map on a scale of 2 inches to a mile when 
training their men will be at a disadvantage on service 
where they may be compelled to use a map on a scale four 
or eight times smaller. 



362 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

In the example given below the Ordnance map, ou a 
scale of four miles to the inch, would be the most suitable. 
During the actual tactical exercises on the ground the 
map need not be used at all, except to ascertain the names 
of places, for both the director and the officers should 
describe their intentions by pointing out the various 
features in front of them, and not by referring to the map. 
In this manner the ground will be studied properly, and 
not in the perfunctory manner so often seen when a good 
map is available. 

We will suppose that the ground west of Cashel has 
been found to be suitable for the operations of a small 
detachment (see Sketch No. 1), and that the scheme is 
based on the operations of the German detachments cover- 
ing the siege of Belfort early in January 1871. A short 
account of these operations, covering one or two sheets of 
foolscap, together with a sketch, could be issued to the 
officers some days before the Tour commences, so that they 
can become acquainted with the historical example. The 
general idea might then take the following form : 

General Idea 

See Sketches Nos. 1 and 15. 

1. The situation is taken roughly from the operations 
round Belfort about January 6, 1871. 

2. Emly is a Blue fortress with a circle of permanent 
works extending round the town at a radius of about two 
miles from the centre, and is being besieged by a Red 
force, believed to consist of two or three divisions. Part 
of this force is about 30 miles to the north-east, appa- 
rently covering the siege on that side. 

3. The main Red army is 100 miles to the north-east 
of Emly, fully employed against the Blue army. 

4. A large Blue force of three or four divisions is ad- 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 363 

vancing from the east, evidently with the object of raising 
the siege of Belfort, and a Red force, strength unknown, 
has just left the main Red army, marching in a south- 
westerly direction. 



Special Idea, Red. 

1. The Red force besieging Emly consists of the 21st 
infantry division, one regiment of cavalry, and a siege 
train. The 22nd infantry division and 17th cavalry 
brigade, which is covering the siege on the north-east, 
withdrew to Holycross (23 miles north-east of Emly) on 
January 6. All these troops are under the command 
of the G.O.C. 22nd division. 

2. A detachment from the 21st division, consisting of 
two battalions of infantry, one section of field artillery, 
one troop of cavalry, and part of a field ambulance, is 
posted at Golden. Another detachment from the same 
division, consisting of one battalion of infantry and one 
troop of cavah'y, is posted at Caher. Supplies for both 
these detachments are sent out every day in country carts 
from Tipperary, which is the headquarters of the 21st 
division. 

8. Two Red divisions marched from the main Red army 
on January 6 to reinforce the Emly besieging force. 

4. The General commanding the Emly force is uncer- 
tain whether the Blue force is advancing against the 22nd 
division or farther to the south direct on Cashel. ITie 
officers commanding the detachments at Golden and 
Cashel are ordered to advance on January 7 about 5 miles 
to the east, drive back any advanced troops of the 
enemy they may encounter, and endeavour to ascertain if 
there is any strong force of the enemy in that neighbour- 
hood. 

5. During January 6 cavalry patrols from the detach- 



364 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

ment at Golden have been driven out of Cashel by hostile 
cavalry, but no Blue infantry or guns have been seen. 

6. The Red detachment at Golden is billeted in that 
village, with four companies on outpost duty about a mile 
north-east, east, and south-east of the town, and with a 
company and four mounted men holding the bridge over 
the Suir 2J miles north-west of Cashel. 



The above general and special ideas are only intended 
as a general guide ; the ground has not been visited, and 
Sketch No. 1 does not contain sufficient details to describe 
any tactical situation. For example, the exact position 
of each outpost company might be given. 

Although the enemy is not represented by a party oi 
officers, it is advisable to prepare a special idea for that 
side, which can be issued to the officers at the conclusion 
of the Tour to show them that they have received fair play 
throughout the operations, and that the enemy's move- 
ments have not been altered from day to day with the 
object of defeating their own plans. 

Officers take more interest in the scheme when they 
know that the enemy ""s plan is fixed, so far as it can be, 
and that they will be informed ultimately as to his strength 
and intentions. This special idea can be drawn up in the 
form of a diary, and will be useful to the director himself 
when he gives his decisions during the course of the 
operations {see Sketch No. 15). 

Special Idea, Blue. 

1. The Blue force marching west on Emly consists of 
one cavalry brigade and three infantry divisions. The 1st 
division is marching along the Fethard, Cashel road, the 
2nd division on Holycross, and the 3rd division along a 
parallel road between the two. The cavalry^ brigade is 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 365 

employed on protective duty, covering the advance of the 
divisions. 

2. It is the intention of the Blue commander to cross 
the Suir between Holycross and Golden and advance on 
Emly. 

3. On January 6 one regiment of cavalry arrives at 
Cashel and the 1st division bivouacs at Fethard with its 
advanced guard, consisting of two battalions of infantry, 
a battery of artillery, a company of engineei's, and a 
squadron of cavalry, two miles north-east of Fethard on 
the Cashel road. 

4. The General officer commanding 1st division intends 
to advance on 7th, throw his advanced guard across the 
Suir at Golden, and bivouac at that place. 



Events on January 7. — ^The Blue cavalry meet the Red 
detachment from Golden about half way between Golden 
and Cashel ; they halt or retire, accorfing to the action of 
the Red detachment. About two hours later the advanced 
guard of the 1st Blue division arrives. The intention of 
the officer commanding is to attack the southern flank of 
the Red detachment. The director will decide whether 
this is possible, and also the result of the engagement. * As 
Blue is no stronger than Red, it is probable that the 
attack will fail. During the day news arrives that the 3rd 
Blue division is being attacked east of Holycross. The 
General commanding the 1st division decides to halt for 
the night at Cashel, with outposts to the west and north, 
and withdraws his advanced guard to Cashel. 

Events on January 8. — ^The 3rd Blue division repulsed 
the Red attack west of Holycross on January 7, after 
severe fighting which continued intermittently up to 
11 P.M. The Red force retired withouj molestation from 
Blue. The 2nd Blue division moved north to support the 



366 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

3rd division. The 1st Blue division was ordered to secure 
the passage of the Suir at Golden, and also occupy the 
bridge two miles north-west of Cashel. 

The General commanding 1st division sent one infantry 
brigade, one field artillery brigade, and one squadron to 
the bridge north-west of Cashel, and a similiar force to 
Golden ; the remainder of the division was kept in reserve 
at Cashel, ready to reinforce either brigade. (This was bad 
tactics on the part of the G.O.C. 1st division, but it is 
hardly fair on the other side to make him do everything 
right.) The officer commanding the Red detachment at 
Golden was ordered to delay the enemy as long as possible, 
and he occupied a defensive position facing east about 
1 J mile east of Golden. (If he wishes to occupy some other 
position, this must be altered.) The Blue detachment march- 
ing to Cashel encountered this Red force. The Red outposts 
were driven back, and the Blue commander was about to 
attack when an order arrived stating that the 1st division 
was not to advance farther till the 2nd and 3rd divisions 
had crossed the Suir and gained ground to the south-west. 
The Blue detachment remained in contact with the Red 
detachment. 

Events on January 9. — The 22nd Red division crossed 
the Multeen river during the day and occupied a defensive 
position facing east near Tipperary. The Red detachment 
east of Golden was ordered to retire through that place, 
destroy the bridge, and fall back on Bansha. The Red 
detachment at Caherwas ordered to destroy the Suir bridges 
at that place and also the bridges over the Ara as far as 
Bansha, and join the Golden detachment at the latter place. 



It will be seen from the above that the tactical exercises 
for the officers will be as follows : 

January 7. — An advance from Golden to Cashel, includ- 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 367 

ing the action of a small advanced guard, subsequently 
supported by the rest of the detachment, vide Chapter 
XVIII., B — The Action of an Advanced Guardr 

January 8. — ^The selection and defence of a position east 
of Golden, covering the Suir bridge, vide Chapter XVIII., 
E— The Defence. 

January 9. — ^The retreat of the Red detachment over the 
Suir at Golden, the destruction of the bridge, and the 
subsequent action on the right bank of the river, vide 
Chapter XVIIL, C— The Action of a Rear-Guard. 

All these exercises will be over different ground, they 
will each be of a different nature, small forces will be 
employed on both sides, and great attention can be paid 
to the action of single companies of infantry and to the 
two guns. 

The director can make any alterations that are necessary 
owing to the unforeseen action of the officer commanding 
the Red detachment at Golden, but he should not change 
the general intentions of the Blue commander. For 
example, the officer commanding the Red detachment 
might decide to retire behind the Suir on the evening of 
7th, and o^tcupy a defensive position on the right bank on 
8th. This would rather spoil the exercise, because the 
retirement across the Suir on 9th could not be carried out. 
If this occults it would be best for the director to send an 
order to the O.C. Golden detachment from the General 
commanding S2nd division directing him to cover the 
bridge by defending a position on the left bank as long as 
possible. 

If suitable accommodation can be obtained, the officers 
can assemble at Cashel about 5 p.m. on January 6, when 
the general and special ideas could be issued if they have 
not been issued beforehand. The officers could be directed 
to work in pairs — a senior officer with a juni()r officer — and 
write an appreciation of the situation {vide Chapter XIV., 



368 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

A), together with the orders for the advance of the Grolden 
detachment on 7th. 

The appreciation of the situation would deal chiefly 
with the ground between Golden and Cashel, so far as its 
features could be ascertained from the map. The officers 
would be given the quarter-inch Ordnance map, and could 
decide which were the important points to make for 
during the advance and which flank of the detachment 
would be most exposed. For example, on the above map 
there is a hill, marked 434, 1;^ mile south-west of Cashel; 
there is also a stream running west from Ccishel to the 
Suir, with only one crossing. This stream with the Suir 
would protect the northern flank of the detachment, so 
that the chief anxiety of the officer commanding during 
the advance would be to guard his southern flank and 
avoid being cut off from Golden. 

After passing through Cashel the detachment would be 
very exposed, as there are several roads from the north, 
north-east, and south-east converging on the town, and 
the enemy might advance in strength along any one of 
them. For this reason it is probable that the officer com- 
manding the detachment would be unwilling to advance 
more than a mile east of Cashel. The action of the 
detachment from Caher would not be of any assistance to 
the Golden detachment, because they also are ordered to 
move about 5 miles eastwards, and Caher is 10 miles south 
of Cashel. If the Golden detachment is to halt on the 
night of 7th~8th at Cashel, the supplies from Tipperary 
must be brought in to Cashel. This requirement will 
raise the question as to when these supplies can safely 
leave Golden ; in any case, some aiTangements and orders 
will be necessary. 

The above is sufficient to show the main points of the 
appreciation, which can be worked out on the lines in- 
dicated in Chapter XIV., A. The director could hold a 



REGIMENTAL TOURS 369 

conference in the evening and explain those principles of 
Combined Training which deal with marches and advanced 
guards, and pick out the important points which would be 
likely to bear on the operations next day. The officers 
might be asked to read out their orders, and these could 
also be discussed. It would be best to keep the apprecia- 
tions for discussion at the conference on the evening of the 
next day, so that the director will have plenty of time to 
look them over. 

On the morning of January 7 the officers would proceed 
from Cashel to Golden and commence the exercise. The 
various situations would have been prepared beforehand by 
the director in the manner suggested in Chapter XVIII., 
B — The Action of an Advanced Guard — and the exercise 
would be carried out as described in that chapter. Par- 
ticular attention would be paid to company leading, and 
the advance of one or more companies to attack and drive 
back the enemy should be followed on the ground. An 
example of the method of conducting an exercise of this 
nature with very small forces is given in Chapter XX. 

At the close of the exercise the officers would return to 
Cashel, and a narrative of events up to 5 p.m. on 7th could 
be issued. This narrative is of no great importance as 
regards the conduct of the various tactical exercises, but 
it keeps officers informed of the general progress of events, 
and affords them a good idea of the strategical and tactical 
situation. The narrative might be as follows : 

Na/rrative of Events up to 5 p.m. on January 7. 

1. About 11 A.M. on 7th the General commanding 
22nd division discovered that a Blue column was advanc- 
ing west on Holycross. The 22nd division attacked this 
column with some success, but about 4 p.m. the enemy 
received strong reinforcements, and the 22nd division com- 
menced to retire across the Suir at Holycross. 



370 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

2. The detachment at Caher report that they have i 
no signs of the enemy, but inhabitants state that a laige 
force of all arms was billeted in Fethard and the surround- 
ing villages last night. 

3. The Golden detachment is now occup3dng a position 

about , facing east ; the outposts report that the 

enemy in front of them are withdrawing eastwards. 



During the evening the officers would be employed in 
writing out the notes they had made on the gi*ound during 
the day. The director would collect the work done by 
each officer on the ground, examine and criticise it, and 
extract notes for the conference, which would be held 
about 9 P.M. The director would also examine the appre- 
ciations of the situation written the previous evening. 
For notes on the criticism of work and method of con- 
ducting conferences, see Chapter XIII. 

On January 8 the officers would go out to select and 
defend a position facing east covering Golden. The 
method of conducting this exercise is described in 
Chapter XVIII., E— The Defence. The work in the 
evening would be the same as before, and the follow- 
ing naiTative might be issued at 5 p.m. : 

Narrative of events up to 5 p.m. on January 8. 

1. The 22nd division drew off from Holycross during 
the day, covered by a strong rear-guard, and occupied a 
position on the left bank of the Multeen river, facing 
north-east. About 5 p.m. Blue troops forced the passage 
of the Suir, south of Holycross, and occupied ground on 
the right bank facing south-west, in contact with the Red 
rear-guard. 

% The detachment at Caher reported that no enemy 
were in the neighbourhood of that place. 

3. T^e Golden detachment occupied a position facing 



. REGIMENTAL TOtJRS 371 

east near . During the morning the Red outposts 

covering this position were driven back, and it appeared 
that a heavy attack was about to be delivered by the 
enemy. ITie officer commanding the Golden detachment 
made all preparations to retire, but no attack was made 
by Blue, and the Red detachment maintained its position 
in contact with Blue outposts. 



On January 9, the last day of the Tour, the officers 
would carry out the retreat of the Golden detachment 
across the Suir. The director could conduct the exercise 
in the manner suggested in Chapter XVIII.^ C, paying 
particular attention to the action of the rear companies 
and the support afforded by the section of artillery. It 
would be necessary for the latter to avoid losing its power 
of movement, and therefore j positions should be selected 
where the guns could be run back to cover by hand, or 
where the teams could limber up without being unduly 
exposed to hostile artillery or infantry fire. 

Officers have a somewhat exaggerated idea of the rapidity 
with which bridges can be destroyed, so it would be advis- 
able to halt at Golden and work out the time required 
and the materials necessary to destroy the bridge at that 
place. 

In the above examples no administrative problems are 
given, but if it was desired to exercise the officers in such 
work, suggestions will be found in Chapters XI. and XVI. 
Schemes of this nature for regimental officers should be 
confined to work they would be likely to be called upon to 
perform in war, such as the preparation of a bivouac for a 
small force. Elaborate railway or supply schemes should 
be avoided, though it would be within the province of a 
regimental officer to go out with an escort, collect and 
bring in supplies and local transport. 



S72 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL -TOURS 

Whatever work is decided upon, the whole party of 
officers should work together under the director. They 
gain far more instruction in this manner than when they 
are sent out by themselves to reconnoitre country or carry 
out any kind of tactical exercise. They hear each other'^s 
views on every question, they have the advantage of the 
director's decision on every matter which is discussed, 
and finally they learn a great deal by arguing amonsgt 
themselves when they have finished one situation and 
are walking to the place where the next situation is to 
be issued. 

Probably the best and cheapest method of getting 
officers on to the ground each day is to hire a break, and 
let the officers walk back in the afternoon. If the locality 
is well selected all the work should be within four or five 
miles of the place where the officers are staying. If it is 
beyond that distance a break will be required to bring the 
officers back again. Bicycles can be used, but they are 
generally a source of trouble during the progress of the 
exercise. The director wishes to move forward and study 
the line of attack by a company over fields or rough 
ground ; the bicycles are left behind, and then the officers 
have to go back and get them, which is a waste of time. 
Frequently the railway can be used, and that is the best oi 
all, because there is no doubt that, except when there are 
no fences and crops to be destroyed, and horses can be used, 
it is best to do the whole of the exercise on foot, unencum- 
bered by bicycles or anything else. 



CHAPTE^l XVIII 

SUGGESTIONS FOR CONDUCTING TACTICAL EX- 
ERCISES ON THE GROUND DURING A STAFF 
RIDE, A REGIMENTAL TOUR, OR AS A SINGLE 
EXERCISE, UNDER THE SUB-HEADINGS ; 

A. Outposts. 

B. The Action of an Advanced Guard. 

C. The Action of a Rkar-Guard, 

D. The Attack. 

E. The Defence. 

It is much easier to demonstrate on the ground the 
manner of conducting these exercises than it is to describe 
it on paper. TTie following attempt, however, will bring 
to light some of the limitations of the exercise, the diffi- 
culties to be overcome, and the general method of going 
to work. The system suggested here is the result of con- 
siderable experience, and h6is been arrived at after trying 
several other methods, some of which are discussed 
below. 

The first difficulty, no doubt, is to gain sufficient self- 
confidence to perform the role of director or instructor, 
and that, of couree, can only be obtained by a thorough 
knowledge of the principles of tactics laid down in the 
various official books of training, and by a certain amount 
of practice and experience. Every decision which is given, 
and every argument which is used, should be supported by 
some principle laid down in Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, or 



374 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Combined Training. If this precept is adhered to, the 
instructor will not be giving his own views on the situation, 
but will be imparting the carefully thought out instruc- 
tions of the highest military authorities. 

If Combined Training lays down a certain principle, we 
may accept it as better than any of our own manufacture. 
The only difficulty is the application of the principle : no 
book can tell us how to apply the principles of war, because 
the application depends upon the situation at the moment 
and the nature of the ground. Situations and ground 
change so constantly that it would be impossible to lay 
down rules which could be applied in all cases. 

It is important, therefore, that the instiTictor should be 
well acquainted with the principles of security of attack 
and defence which are laid down in the official books of 
training. He will then be able to deal with the many 
arguments which will be brought forward by officers during 
these exercises to justify their suggestions and incidentally 
to prove that their methods are right and the instructor''s 
criticisms are wrong. 

After a little experience the instructor will find that it 
is not so difficult to produce a series of interesting tactical 
situations and to dictate sound tactical methods of dealing 
with them. Even if the instruction is not very high class, 
officers must always learn a good deal by working out a 
situation on the ground. 

These exercises have sometimes been described as tactical 
war games transferred from the map to the ground. But 
there is a radical difference between the two. In a war 
game the troops are actually represented by pieces of lead, 
and they can be moved about on the map. It is possible, 
therefore, in a war game to practise the actual movement 
of troops as at manoeuvres or in war. The actual move- 
ment of troops cannot be practised during a Staff Ride, 
except by a system of flags, and it will be shown below 



TACTICAL EXERCISES 875 

that this method is unsatisfactoiy. A Staff Ride, and the 
tactical exercises during a Staff Ride, are intended for the 
training of commanders and staff officers. Though some 
of these military officials actually give the executive orders 
for the troops to move, that is only a small part of their 
work ; they must also make administrative arrangenaents, 
reconnoitre ground, prepare orders, and in fact do every- 
thing which is required before the troops move. Another 
difference between these exercises and war games on a map 
is that with the latter the commander can see where every 
man of his force has got to, and he certainly cannot see 
this in war, neither can he during a tactical exercise, 
because there are no troops. He is compelled to use his 
imagination either in a tactical exercise or in war, because 
when he is examining the ground he must decide on the 
course of action before the troops even deploy for battle, 
although he may be only commanding a company. 

These exercises are subject to certain limitations which 
it is as well to bear in mind. As will be explained later, 
they should be carried out on foot ; it is undesirable, there- 
fore, to attempt to deal with the operations of a very large " 
force. When such a force is employed for the Staff Ride, 
the tactical exercise on the ground should be limited to 
the study of a small part of that force, such as a brigade 
with some artillery attached to it, or a division. A purely 
cavalry or artillery exercise must be conducted in a some^ 
what different manner, and is dealt with in Chapter XIX. 

As the officers are on foot, and as a good deal of time 
will be taken up in solving the various situations which 
are presented for their consideration, it is advisable to 
limit the distance which has to be traversed during the 
exercise. 

Attempts have been made in the past to cany out the 
attack of a large force by placing commanders and staff 
officers of divisions, &c., in the exact position on the 



376 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

ground which they would occupy if the troops were pre- 
sent, and maintaining communication by means of cyclists. 
The commander of the whole force is placed in a central 
position in rear, and he issues, or has issued beforehand, 
his operation orders for the attack. The various divisional 
commanders, each supervised by an assistant director, then 
issue their orders for the attack, and the infantry brigade, 
artillery, and cavalry commanders, each posted in a posi- 
tion occupied by his troops, issue their orders. It is pro- 
bable that the chief lesson to be learnt from this method 
of conducting the exercise is that orders take a very long 
time to filter down from the chief commander to his sub- 
ordinates, and this can be learnt much better at manoeuvres, 
when the troops are actually present. 

The result of this system is that many officers are wait- 
ing a long time for their orders, and when they receive 
them there is perhaps nothing for their particular brigade 
to do. It is really an attempt to carry out on the ground 
the actual movements of troops when the troops are not 
there. This can be done to some extent in a war game 
on a map, as already pointed out, but it cannot be carried 
out satisfactorily during a tactical exercise on the ground. 

Attempts have also been made to employ flags on the 
ground, just as the pieces of lead are used on the map. 
This again is unsatisfactory, because considerable numbers 
of men are required to carry the flags, a great deal of 
running about is necessary in order to tell them where 
to go, and directly they begin to move they are usually 
lost sight of. 

It is possible to flag out a defensive position which is 
stationary, but if the tactical exercise involves any move- 
ment of troops, flags are useless, unless there is a regularly 
constituted skeleton force, each company, squadron, and 
battery commanded by at least a non-commissioned officer, 
and each larger unit by an officer. Frequent opportu- 



TACTICAL EXERCISES 377 

nities occur for practising this type of exercise during 
brigade and divisional training, and even then no one 
appears to think that the officers with the skeleton force 
derive much instruction from the operations ; it is really 
only employed in order to afford instruction to the pro- 
perly constituted force on the opposing side. 

Another method which has been tried, without much 
success, is to collect the officers of two opposing sides, one 
side defending a position and the other attacking it. The 
meeting-place selected is generally on the defensive posi- 
tion itself. The officers on each side are kept apart from 
the others, the situation is given out, and the officers on 
each side are asked separately what they propose to do. 
The director then decides what is the result of this first 
operation, and a new situation is given out. 

There are serious drawbacks to this method. The 
officers on the defending side naturally say their troops 
will remain where they are, still defending the position. 
The offi(!ers on the attacking side having failed, perhaps, 
to carry the position with their first attack, decide to make 
another attack from a different direction over ground 
which cannot be seen from the place where the officei-s are 
assembled. The whole party must then walk over to this 
new gi'ound, and it is probably discovered that owing to 
some physical obstacle, such as a large wood, or a stream, 
an attack on this side is out of the question. Exercises 
conducted in this manner do not involve that close study 
of ground which is the chief merit of this system of in- 
struction. 

Another system which has been tried, but which appears 
to have been the least successful of all, is for each side to 
be represented by a party of officers under an assistant 
director, and to be posted in the position which would 
probably be occupied by the two opposing commanders 
in war. The director then remains in the middle and 



378 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TQURS 
receives fi'om each side the solutions arrived at, and decides 
the course of action. The director is not on the spot ; he 
cannot ascertain from a hurriedly written report what are 
the full intentions of each commander, and he probably 
gives decisions which are not accepted without demur. It 
takes a long time to transmit the messages, and after the 
first situation the director usually adopts the method de- 
scribed above, and brings the officers on both sides to 
some central place where a view of the country can be 
obtained. 

If we cannot have the enemy represented either by flags 
or by a party of officers, we must adopt some other 
method. The only satisfactory solution hitheito arrived 
at is to make the director or instructor represent the 
enemy. He knows the original orders and intentions of 
each of the. opposing commanders, and he must decide 
from time to time, as the various situations develop, what 
the enemy would be likely to do, and give the necessary 
decisions, in the same way as he prepares the evening 
narrative. 

It is sometimes urged that these tactical exercises on 
the ground impose an undue strain on the imagination of 
officers, because the enemy cannot be seen. This is true 
to some extent, not because the enemy is invisible, but 
because there are no bullets and shells flying about. It is 
rare that the enemy is visible in war, and officers dealing 
with tactical situations in front of the enemy have only 
the ground, their orders, and their general knowledge of 
the situation to ^uide them as to what they are to do. 
The shells and bullets are of course disconcerting, but they 
cannot be produced at any peace exercises, so it appears 
that these tactical operations without troops approach 
sufficiently close to the actual conditions of war to be 
worthy of study and elaboration. In some respects they 
are even Ixitter than mancpuvrea, because each officer is 



TACTICAL EXERCISES • S79 

called upon to say how he would solve the problem, 
probably no two officers agree, an extremely instructive 
discussion follows, and the director finally states what 
he considers to be the correct solution. 

Though motor-cars, or other means of conveyance, ai'e 
useful to take the officers on to the ground where the 
exercise is to be held, and to bring them back in the 
evening, it is essential that the work during the day should 
be done on foot. Officers can get about anywhere on foot 
and follow the movements of an attacking force, or walk 
along a defensive position. Horses no doubt would be 
better, especially as regards the selection of artillery 
positions, and in some parts of the Empire, where there are 
no hotels and where a camp is formed, the exercise could 
be done better on horseback than on foot. But in England, 
as already pointed out, horses are very expensive to take 
on a Staff Ride : there is usually a good deal of work on the 
hard road to get to the required place of assembly, and a 
collection of several officers with horses and without horse- 
holders causes confusion and disturbance during the con- 
ferences and detracts from the value of the instruction 
imparted. The attention of each officer is constantly dis- 
tracted from the exercise to his horse, which is probably 
kicking some one else^s, and altogether it appears to be 
better to do without them. In many places horses could 
not get about, or if they could, would damage fences and 
crops, whereas a few officers can go almost anywhere with- 
out interfering with game, crops, or the owner's peace of 
mind. 

It appears, therefore, that the only satisfactory method 
ot conducting these exercises is to limit the work to the 
operations of one side, all information about what the 
enemy is doing, so far as it would be available in war, 
being provided by the director. Secondly, that only a 
small portion of the force actually engaged should be dealt 



380 .STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

with during the exercise, orders from higher commanders 
being supplied by the director as occasion demands. 
Thirdly, that the exercise should be conducted on foot. 

There are a few matters of detail in the conduct of these 
exercises which apply to them all, and which can be re- 
corded here to avoid repetition. They are drawn up on 
the supposition that the tactical exercise is held during a 
Staff Ride, but they apply equally to Regimental Tours 
or to a " one day "' regimental exercise on the ground. 

(a) The orders which are issued to the commander of 
the troops which are selected for the exercise should have 
been prepared the night before, and a copy posted up in 
the officer's room. For example, if it is proposed to carry 
out the attack of a brigade, all the officers should have seen 
the divisional orders directing the attack, and a copy should 
be taken on to the ground. 

(6) If possible, the various situations which it is intended 
to work out should be typed and duplicated beforehand, 
so that a copy can be issued to each officer as the exercise 
progresses. These situations would be numbered, and the 
first situation issued at the place of assembly. 

(c) The ordinary procedure is to issue the first situation, 
tell the officers to examine the ground, to write down in 
their note-books what they propose to do, and to meet the 
director at some spot which he will indicate where a good 
view of the ground can be obtained. 

(d) If there is a large number of officers taking part in 
the exercise, it is best to divide them into parties of two 
or three, officers of different arms working together. Each 
party would then send in one solution. If they do not 
agree, the alternative suggestions can be inserted. This 
method facilitates the rapid discussion of each situation, 
and reduces the amount of work to be looked over by the 
directing staff in the evening. 

(e) From half an hour to one hour should be allowed 



TACTICAL EXERCISES 381 

for the study of each situation, the time being decided 
by the simplicity or otherwise of the situation and by the 
nature of the ground. 

{f) When the officers reassemble, the director can ask 
one officer to explain his or his party's views regarding the 
solution of the problem. He can criticise any small point, 
but it is better not to bias the opinions of others by 
criticising any important matter. If it is plain that the 
officer has made a serious mistake, a few questions may be 
asked to make sure that he really means what he suggests, 
and has appreciated the results which would be likely to 
follow in war. The remaining officers will be asked in a 
similar manner to give their solutions, and the director 
will then criticise any doubtful suggestion, indicating the 
impracticability or danger of adopting such a course, and 
will state what his own solution would be. 

(g) Having completed the first situation, the officers 
should be taken to a place where they can see the ground 
where the second problem is to be worked out. It is best 
not to issue the second situation until this ground is reached. 
The officers meanwhile will be discussing amongst them- 
selves the points which have been raised at the first con- 
ference, and gaining valuable instruction thereby. 

(A) The remahiing situations will be dealt with in a 
similar manner. Three or four situations are quite as 
many as can be got through in one day. Including the 
discussion, each situation will average about one and a 
half hours, and four to five hours' hard work on the groimd 
is as much as can be undertaken with advantage, especially 
if it is raining. 

(i) At the close of the exercise the officers should be 
asked to hand in their notes. The director will study 
these during the evening, and bring forward at the con- 
ference at night all the important points which have 
been discussed on the ground. If any long discussion 



382 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

takes place on the ground, it is best for the director to 
inform the officers that they will have another oppor- 
tunity of expressing their views at the evening confereiice. 

{j ) The best manner of conducting the conferences on 
the ground is to raise a point, deal with it as thoroughly 
and briefly as possible, and then pass on to the next point. 
Officers get rather tired of long discussions on one subject, 
and the chief art in conducting these exercises is to main- 
tain their interest by raising a succession of instructive 
subjects which bear directly on the work in hand. 

{Tc) It should be clearly understood that these exercises 
are for training in connnand rather than in staff work, 
though no doubt a good deal of staff work can be dealt 
with whilst solving the various problems. For this i*eason, 
provided the forces employed are small, the exercises are 
peculiarly suited to the training of regimental officers, €uid 
consequently form the chief basis of Regimental Tours, 
which are dealt with in Chapter XVII. 

(/) Officers should be told to study the ground and not 
their maps ; exercises with maps can be carried out indoors, 
and they are not so instructive as exercises on the ground. 
During the conferences also officers should explain their 
proposals by indicating places on the ground and not on 
the maps. The maps available for the majority of officers 
in war are on too small a scale to be of much tactical 
utility, and consequently they, regimental officers espe- 
cially, should be trained to studying the ground more than 
the map, so that when they go to war they will not be 
upset by the fact that there is no good map of the district 
available. 

The preparation of the various situations requires care- 
ful thought, and a close study beforehand of the map, or 
better still, of the ground itself. If we wish to follow the 
action of a small force such as a brigade, or at the out** 
side a division, the scene of operations should be over 



TACTICAL EXERCISES 383 

ground where difficulties are likely to arise, where the 
features are not very large, and where a number of 
important tactical localities can be found, the possession 
of which is cei'tain to be disputed with the greatest energy 
by both combatants. 

Open rolling downs, large features, flat plains, very 
enclosed country, and the neighbourhood of large towns 
with many villas and gardens are unsuitable for these 
exercises. The country which lends itself best to the 
solution of instructive problems consists of small hills, 
broken ground, with woods here and there to give cover 
to deployments and to render artillery action difficult, 
with several tactical points which will form the various 
stepping-stones to success — villages, farms, &c. 

In very open country it is difficult to prepare a series of 
situations, especially when practising the attack, which is 
the most difficult operation to conduct during a tactical 
exercise. The preliminary arrangements can be made, 
positions for the artillery can be selected, and objectives 
given to the various bodies of infantry. The attack then 
goes forward in a succession of extended lines,. and every- 
thing depends on the method of advance, the moral and 
good shooting of the troops, and the combination of 
artillery, infantry, and cavalry action — details which 
cannot be practised during these exercises. So we see 
that when the first situation has been dealt with, though 
it is a very interesting situation, there is nothing more to 
do. With senior officers on a large Staffs Ride it would be 
very instructive to work out such a situation for a large 
force, and it might take a whole day to do it, but for an 
ordinary Staff Ride with a smaller force it is more instruc- 
tive to prepare several situations, and for this the ground 
must be suitable. 

It is therefore desirable to select the operations of the 
particular brigade or division, where the ground appears 



384 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

to be favourable, to take out all the officers on one side, 
and work out the details of the proposed scheme. The 
preparation of the various situations depends entirely mi 
the nature of the operation, but the following system has 
been found to be suitable in most cases : 

The actual tactical situation at the commencement of 
the exercise should be based entirely on the orders and 
staff arrangements made by the officers the night before. 
These orders should be taken on to the ground, and any 
mistakes or omissions which come to light during the 
operations should be brought to notice by the director. 
In a " one day " regimental exercise the information con- 
tained in these orders would be given in the scheme, see 
Chapter XX. The first situation should commence where 
the orders left off. That is to say, if the troops were in 
bivouac the orders for the movement out of the bivouac 
to carry out their instructions would be the first situation. 
As a rule, however, it is best to get these orders written 
the night before, and commence the first situation when 
the troops are moving forward or when they have reached 
some place of assembly indicated in the orders. 

The director when preparing the situation will know 
what steps the enemy has taken, or is about to take, 
to carry out his own plan. It is easy then for him to 
state in the first situation the details of any opposition 
which has been met with so far, and to describe where 
hostile fire is coming from. In the second and third 
situations the director does not know what the enemy will 
do, and he must invent the movements very much in the 
same manner as he does when he is preparing a narrative. 
The. director's knowledge of the general intentions of the 
opposing commander will give him sufficient data to work 
on if assisted by some imagination. When the enemy is 
not represented by a party of officers, the director must 
decide throughout the intentions and actions of the enemy. 



TACTICAL EXERCISES-OUTPOSTS 385 

We may assume that the first situation has been dealt 
with and has resulted in success or failure, which involves 
a forward or backward movement on to fresh ground. 
The second situation can then be prepared, and finally the 
third situation. Further details regarding the prepara- 
tion of these situations beforehand will be found under 
the various headings below. 

There are five distinct classes of military operations 
which can be practised in this manner : 

(A) Outposts. 

(B) The action of an advanced guard. 

(C) The action of a rear-guard. 

(D) The attack. 

(E) The defence. 

Each one of these will be taken separately, and it will 
be assumed that in cases (A), (C), and (D) the gi'ound has 
been reconnoitred by the officers beforehand, though this 
is not always necessary ; that in every case the general situa- 
tion is known to the officers, and that the necessary 
orders have been written the evening before. This is 
required so that everything may be ready to commence 
the exercise directly the officers assemble on the ground. 

Sketch No. 1 should be referred to for all the examples 
given in this chapter, 

(A) Outposts. 

The best method of conducting this exercise is to 
assume that each officer or eajch group in the party is in 
the position of the officer commanding a section of the out- 
post line. The orders of the outpost commander, which 
would have been prepared the previous evening, usually 
after a reconnaissance of the ground, would be issued or 
dictated to all officers before coming out. llie officers 
would meet the director on one flank of the particular 
outpost section that it was proposed to study, and the 
first point to consider would be whether the orders were 



386 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

sufficiently comprehensive so that the officer commandihg 
the section of the outpost line would know what to do. 

The director would then point out to the officers the 
exact position of the nearest outposts beyond the limits of 
their section. He would ask them to walk over the gi*ound 
in the vicinity and decide how the first outpost company 
should be placed, the exact positions of the sentries, 
picquets, and supports, if any, and to write down the 
details in their note-books. They would be ordered to 
meet the director in half an hour at some convenient spot 
close by, where a fair view could be obtained of the ground 
in front. The director would also go over the ground 
and decide how the outpost company should be disposed. 
When the officers have reassembled the director can discuss 
the work, as suggested in (/), p. 381. 

The party will then walk along the outpost line till it 
is necessary to post a second company, and the same 
procedure will be followed. In this manner the outpost 
section will be completely occupied, and it will then 
become necessary to write the orders of the officer com- 
manding the section. The most important point about 
these orders, apart from the position of the various outpost 
companies, is what their commanders are to do in case they 
are attacked. In fact, the orders by the officers command- 
ing a section of the outpost line should disclose a scheme 
of operations to meet an attack either against the right, 
left, or centre of his section. These orders having been 
written and discussed, the director might take the officers 
to the locality where one of the outpost companies had 
been placed, and issue the first situation. As an example, 
this situation might take the following form : 

Tactk^al Exercise on the Ground. 
Sitimtion No. L 
1. At 4 A.M. on June 17 the non-commissioned officer 
in charge of a patrol sent forward to the wood at 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— OUTPOSTS 387 

reports that he heard troops moving in front. At 
4.15 A.M. the sentries opened fire on some troops ad- 
vancing from . 

2. At 4.30 A.M. hostile rifle-fire was opened on the 

picquet from , , and (naming any localities 

which the enemy would be likely to occupy if he was 
advancing to drive back the outposts). 

3. As officer commanding the outpost company at , 

state what you propose to do. 



Having dealt with the situation as suggested in (e) 
and (f% pp. 380-381, and having moved to fresh gi'ound, if 
necessary, the second situation can be issued. This might 
be as follows : 

Sittmtion No. II, 

1. The hostile attack has developed sufficiently to show 
the officer commanding the outpost company that unless 
he retires at once he will be cut off'. 

2. Hostile fire is now coming from and 

(naming places which threaten the line of retreat of the 
company). 

3. As officer commanding the outpost company, state 
what you intend to do. 

If a third situation is required, the exercise might be 
transferred from the outpost company to the whole section 
of the outpost line, and the following problem issued : 

Situation No, HI. 

1. The outpost companies at and have been 

driven back, and are now holding positions about and 

. The remainder of the companies are maintaining 

their original position, but are also being attacked. Other 
sections of the outpost line have been disturbed, but not 
heavily attacked. 



388 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

2, As officer comnianding this section, state what you 
propose to do. 

There would not be time in one day to go round the 
outpost line and work out all the above situations as welL 
But they may be useful to explain the class of work. With 
senior officers the dispositions of the outposts might be 
decided, and then the third situation worked out. With 
junior officers, especially during a Regimental Tour, the 
dispositions might be settled, and then the first and 
second situations dealt with. 

Another form of exercise, with senior officers, is to take 
out a party to represent the officer commanding the whole 
of the outpost line. The officers would then be given the 
orders issued by the commander of the force to the officer 
commanding the outposts. In these orders the officer com- 
manding the outposts would be directed either to select 
himself the best line for the outposts, or would be given 
a general line to occupy. The main object of the exercise 
would be to decide the line of observation and of resist- 
ance. In a scheme of this nature the locality of the 
troops that are to find the outposts should be given, so 
that the officers may first decide how they are to be 
brought out on to the ground and distributed to various 
paii:s of the line without delay. 

There are three stages in the establishment of an out- 
post line. First, the commander must decide on the 
general line and allot sections to various troops. Secondly, 
he must issue orders to bring the troops on to the ground 
behind their respective sections. Thirdly, the officer com- 
manding each section must decide where each outpost 
company is to go to. As far as possible these three thiiigs 
should be going on at the same time. For example, it is not 
difficult for the officer commanding the outposts to obtain 
from the map a rough idea of the number of companies he 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— OUTPOSTS 389 

will require to occupy the line. He can tell these com- 
panies to go out to certain places of assembly, and then 
they will be close at hand when they are required by the 
officer commanding the section they belong to. 

It may be useful to note a few of the mistakes which are 
made sometimes by officers when carrying out these exer- 
cises, mistakes which are entirely opposed to the teaching 
of Combined Training. 

There appears to be a desire to occupy a sort of defensive 
position, and to hold every piece of ground which cannot 
be seen by the picquet on the right and left of it. Officers 
do not always realise that an outpost position occupied in 
this manner would use up far more men than are avail- 
able. They do not always understand that the important 
tactical points along the outpost line must be held, and 
the rest merely watched or patrolled. These tactical 
j)oints are readily recognised if we place ourselves in the 
position of the enemy and ask the question, What point 
should we capture first before we push troops along that 
road or up that valley ? If these tactical points are held, the 
enemy cannot go between without attacking them heavily, 
and in real war he will rarely go between them till he has cap- 
tured them. In either case these operations will take some 
time, and to gain time is the chief duty of the outposts. 

Sometimes we find that the officers are so absorbed in 
protecting the bivouac that they forget to protect the only 
position on which the troops who are occupying the 
bivouac can fight. As explained in Combined Ti-aining, 
outposts are required to cover the fighting position more 
than the bivouac, because the former includes the latter. 
Sometimes, no doubt, the outposts can be placed on this 
fighting position, but if they are attacked and driven off 
it before the troops in bivouac can arrive, the latter will he 
surprised at an awkward moment. 

In all outpost exercises the officers should be told three 



390 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOUBS 
things. First, the position of the bivouac ; secondly, the 
position where the troops in bivouac are going to fight if the 
outposts are driven in ; and thirdly, which part of ihe oufc- 
post line is required to offer the greatest resistance, dither 
because the main body will be longer in occupying that 
portion of the fighting position, or because the eaily 
retreat of one part of the line will compel all the remainder 
to fall back to avoid being cut off, or because the enemy 
is more likely to attack in one direction than another. 

An interesting discussion generally arises r^arding the 
line of resistance. Combined Training recommends the 
picquet line, but many ofHcers appear to favour the idea 
that the supports should be the main line of resistance. 

The arguments usually brought fon^ard in favour of the 
first idea are that a support may be required to reinforce 
two picquets, or one of two. That the echelon of strength 
to the rear is better if the support acts in the ordinary 
manner of attack or defence and moves, up to reinforce. 
That the picquet fights better if it knows it is going to be 
reinforced. ITiat the picquet is not required to fall back 
on ihe support and thus mask the fire of the latter. 

The arguments in favour of the second idea are that 
with an outpost company the officer commanding it is 
entirely resjx)nsible both for observation and resistance 
in his part of the line. But when it comes to resistance 
he will prefer to have as great a part of his company as 
possible immediately at hand and ready to hold the one 
tactical point which he has decided he must prevent the 
enemy from capturing. That if this post is to be held by 
a picquet it would be better to have the support close by 
all the time, so that every man will know where to go to, 
and will not come up out of breath, perhaps in the dark, 
without knowing anything about the groimd in front. That 
the picquets in front with some resisting power give warning 
of an attack better than a sentry who may be deceived 



ADVANCED GUARDS 391 

by a patrol, and if the picquet is well placed it can retire 
direct to the rear without masking the fire of the support. 

If the director wishes to give a decision he can use the 
time-worn but frequently unsatisfactory precept that every- 
thing depends on circumstances. The final decision, how- 
ever, rests with Combined Training, which says that " the 
picquets will, as a rule, be the first position of resistance. 
Only in exceptional cases should the picquets fall back to 
the position held by the supports."*" So long as Combined 
Training lays down this precept we must adhere to it. 

The above remarks and those which follow the description 
of each tactical exercise are not intended to indicate what is 
right or wrong ; they are almost entirely taken straight out 
of Combined Training, and are merely inserted to suggest 
to the director instructive points to deal with during the 
exercise. It may be noted that one of the most difficult 
operations of war is to withdraw an outpost line which is 
heavily attacked without severe loss in casualties, including 
prisoners, or without masking the fire of the defence in rear. 
It requires the most careful staff' arrangement and very 
clear orders, and the officer usually selected to command 
the outposts is a battalion commander who has no specially 
trained staffl It is therefore extremely desirable to practise 
a withdrawal of this nature, especially during Regimental 
Tours. 

(B) The Action of an Advanced Guard. 

For an exercise of this nature a line of advance should be 
selected where the advanced guard can be brought into a 
situation which involves the choice of two or three possible 
courses of action. Perhaps the most instructive situation is 
where there are hills on either side of the road, where the 
advanced guard is too weak to operate against both sides, 
and the commander must decide which side to attack and 
capture before dealing with the other. An example of such 



.S()i> STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

a problem will be found in Chapter XIV., under the heading 
" Appreciation of a Situation.'" 

When preparing the various situations it is necessary to 
•study the map, or better still, the ground, to discover a 
suitable locality for the advanced guard to meet the 
enemy. Having done this, it is as well to place the oppos- 
ing troops on the map in the position they would occupy 
when they first came into contact — that is to say, when 
the cavalry of the advanced guard are first stopped by 
hostile troops. The director will know what the enemy 
are doing, because he has seen the orders of the other side. 
'Jliey may be advancing, retiring, or halted, so the advanced 
guard may encounter a hostile advanced guard, a rear- 
guard, or an outpost line. So far as a description of the 
method of conducting the exercise is concerned, this is 
innnaterial. The essence of the situation is that the 
advanced guard will first encounter small bodies of the 
enemy, and then larger bodies, and finally, if successful, 
may find itself in front of the enemy'^s main position. 

The director, when deciding what type of tactical exer- 
cise it would be best to carry out, would consider the 
nature of the situation, the orders issued by each com- 
mander, and the class of ground which was available. He 
would then decide whether to practise an outpost scheme, 
the operations of an advanced guard, or an attack, &c., 
and would select whichever appeared to be most interest- 
ing. It would hardly be correct to vary the general 
situation produced at the moment by the operations of the 
opposing connnandei-s, because all the officers are acquainted 
with that situation, and an imaginary change, merely to 
suit the convenience of a scheme, is never popular. 

We will suppose, therefore, that at a certain period of a 
Staff* Ride a situation is produced which involves the 
advance of a division over a tract of country where the 
enemy may be met at any moment, but where his exact 



ADVANCED GUARDS 393 

position is unknown. Such an occasion arises sometimes 
during a turning movement, 6r when searching for the 
flank of an enemy ""s position, when, owing to some physical 
obstacle or to other causes, the majority of the cavalry 
is employed elsewhere. 

When preparing the various situations it will be un- 
necessary to describe the general scheme, as all officers 
taking part in the Staff Ride or Regimental Tour 
will be acquainted with it. A heading to the effect 
that the tactical exercise will deal with, say, the advance 
of the 18th division from Cashel on June 16, 1907, 
will be quite sufficient. The orders for the advance 
of this division, containing the composition and strength 
of the advanced guard, and, in accordance with Combined 
Training, the general distance that was to be preserved 
between the advanced guard and the main body, would 
have been prepared the previous evening. These orders 
should be taken on to the ground, and we will suppose 
that the order relating to the advanced guard contained 
the following details : 

Strength. — One infantry brigade, one artillery brigade, 
and one squadron. 

Line of advcmce. — From Cashel via Newinn on Caher. 

Object. — ^To cover the advance of the division, drive back 
the enemy's advanced troops, and endeavour to locate his 
main position. 

Other details. — ^The cavalry regiment of the 9th brigade 
watching the line Clerahan, Newinn to the Suir, has been 
ordered to concentrate at Rosegreen, guard the left flank 
of the advance, and move slowly towards Clerahan. The 
45th brigade from Holycross, and the remainder of the 
9th cavalry brigade from Ballagh^ are expected to arrive 
at Cashel about mid-day. 

Hour of starting. — The advanced guard will be clear of 
Cashel by 5 a.m. ; the main body will commence to leave 



394 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Cashel at 6 a.m. The advanced guard commander will 
maintain a distance of from 3 to 4 miles between his main- 
guard and the head of the main body. 

The above situation is taken direct from the special idea. 
Blue, in the Tipperary Staff* Ride (see Chapter V.), which 
happens to provide a situation of the required nature, 
where the cavalry are otherwise employed, and where the 
division must advance over a tract of country where the 
enemy may be met at any moment. The director, before 
preparing the various situations, would reconnoitre the 
road from Cashel to Newinn and ascertain the best places 
for issuing the various situations. He would know from 
the orders issued on the evening of June 15 what the Red 
commander at Caher had decided to do, and we may assume 
that the 8th Red division would occupy a defensive posi- 
tion somewhere north of Caher covered by the 7th cavalry 
brigade and also by infantry outposts. The advanced 
guard of the 18th Blue division would encounter, first, the 
Red cavalry patrols ; secondly, formed bodies of cavalry; 
thirdly, the infantry outposts of the 8th Red division; 
fourthly, the main position of the 8th division. Know- 
ing the exact positions of the Red troops and the orders 
issued by the G.O.C. 8th division, the director, omitting 
the action against the Red cavalry patrols, could prepare 
three situations of the following nature. These would 
be quite enough for one day'^s work. 

Tactical Exercise on the Giiound. 

Operations of the advanced guard of the 18th Blue 
division. 

Situation No, I, 

1. Since passing A the officer commanding the squadron 
has frequently reported the presence of hostile patrols in 
front. These he has driven back. 



ADVANCED GUARDS S95 

2. On arrival at B the officer commanding the van-guard, 
which consists of half a battalion of infantry, with the 
squadron of cavalry, receives a report that the squadron is 
stopped at C by hostile fire from D and E (C being about 
a mile ahead of B). 

3. The exact position of the head of the main-guard 
will be indicated by the director. 

4. As officer commanding the van-guard, state what you 
propose to do. 

The officers should have been ordered to meet the 
director at B. 

Before issuing the above situation the director might 
ask the officers how they would distribute the troops of 
the advanced guard if they had been placed in command 
of it at Cashel. The following points would then be dis- 
cussed : The strength of the van-guard ; its distance from 
the main-guard ; whether the squadron should be placed 
under the officer commanding the van -guard ; where the 
officer commanding the advanced guard should march ; 
whether there should be any guns or ambulances with the 
van-guard ; whether any engineers should have been ordered 
to accompany the advanced guard ; if so, what equipment 
should they take with them, and could they leave any of 
it behind — i.e., pontoons, tool waggons, &c. ; what part of 
a field ambulance should accompany the advanced guard ; 
whether the officer commanding the division should march 
with the advanced guard, and if so what effect he would 
have on the independent action of the officer commanding 
the advanced guard ; whether the proportion of artillery 
with the advanced guard was correct; and any other 
particular which might demand special treatment owing 
to the ground or the nature of the scheme. 

Having discussed these points, the first situation can be 
issued, and the officers should be permitted to go forward 



396 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

as far as C, to reconnoitre the ground, and would be 
ordered to meet the director at that place in, say, three- 
quarters of an hour. The situation would then he dis- 
cussed in the manner already described. 

The main interest in the situation would depend on 
the selection by the director of the two places D and E 
which were held by the enemy. 

Some points which would come up for discussion would 
probably be : whether the van-guard commander ought 
to attack at once and clear the road, or wait for the main- 
guard to come up ; whether the van-guard was stroijg 
enough to attack both places at once, and if not would 
it be better to attack D before E, or vice versa. The 
answers to these questions would depend a good deal 
on the ground, especially the answer to the last, which 
would be decided by a consideration of the direction 
where ground could be gained to the front most rapidly. 

Further points would be : The various stages of the 
attack ; the number of companies to be deployed in the 
first instance ; the possibility of covering fire ; the pro- 
tection of the main road and the other flank whilst the 
attack was being made ; the action of the squadron, and 
what messages should be sent back to the officer com- 
manding the advanced guard ; whether the latter should 
be with the van-guard, and if so whether he ought not to 
■command it. 

Having discussed the first situation, the officers could 
be directed to walk on to F, and the second situation 
could be issued. The distance from D or E to F 
should correspond to the distance where more serious 
resistance might be expected, according to the nature 
of the enemy's dispositions, which last would be known 
to the director. For example, if the advanced guaixl 
encounters hostile cavalry only, as in this case, the 
distance might be considerable, but if the enemy have 



ADVANCED GUARDS 397 

nothing in front of them but an infantry outpost line, 
the distance would be small, because after driving back 
the sentries, and perhaps the picquets, more serious resist- 
ance would shortly be encountered. 

Situation No. IL 

1. The hostile troops at D and E were driven back* 
without serious resistance, and probably consisted of about 
a squadron. The van-guard lost seven men. The head 
of the main-guard was approaching just as the position 
was gained. 

% The squadron again moved forward, followed by the 
van-guard. On reaching F the officer commanding the 
van-guard received a report that the squadron was 
stopped at G and was being heavily fired on from H, 
and that hostile guns, probably one battery, had opened 
fire from the direction of K. Patrols report that L and M 
(on one or both flanks) are also occupied by the enemy. 

(Note : The exact localities where the hostile fire is 
coming from will be pointed out by the director on the 
ground — i.e.^ the edge of that wood, those farm buildings, 
the top of that knoll, &c.) 

3. The exact position of the van-guard, main-guard, and 
the head of the main body will be indicated to the officers 
on the ground. (Note : The main body should not be 
allowed to have come within two or three miles of the 
advanced guard.) 

4. As ofiicer commanding the advanced guard, state what 
verbal orders you would issue to deal with this situation 
and explain your general plan of operations. 



Officers will require a longer time to reconnoitre the 
ground for this situation, because it will be necessary to 
find suitable positions for the artillery where they can 
support the infantry It may be necessaiy to detach some 



398 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

infantry to secure the flanks of the attack if an attack is 
decided upon. The eastern flank will be secured to some 
extent by the cavalry regiment at Rosegreeh. The primary 
duty of the advanced guard, to prevent the main body. 
from being surprised, must not be lost sight of while 
carrying out the second duty of driving back the enemy'^s 
advanced troops. 

Some of the points for discussion which will arise in 
this situation will be similar to those previously noted ; 
other matter will be : The action of the artillery ; the 
method of deployment either for defence or attack, which- 
ever is decided upon. A discussion as to what the enemy's 
strength is likely to be : so far no serious resistance has 
been met with, so this is unlikely to be his main position ; 
besides which the ground in front may not appear to be 
suitable for occupation as a main position. If an attack 
is decided upon, the direction of the attack will supply 
ample material for discussion. As a rule, officers do not 
like the look of the ground in front, and decide to make a 
flank attack over ground they cannot see properly. If 
that ground is inspected it is frequently found to be quite 
as difficult to attack over as that in front. It is not sug- 
gested that a purely frontal attack should be made, but 
officers sometimes recommend a wide turning movement. 
These operations are peculiarly dangerous when carried 
out by an advanced guard, because they usually un- 
cover the front of the main body, and also because they 
take a long time. The ruling factor is the appreciation 
of some tactical locality held by the enemy, the capture 
of which will compel his whole line to fall back. If this 
point can be discovered the whole energies of the advanced 
guard should be directed against it alone, and elsewhere 
a defensive attitude should be adopted to avoid surprise 
or any interference with the main body. 

Further points for consideration are the position of the 



ADVANCED GUARDS 399 

ammunition column if it has been brought with the 
artillery brigade, and its protection; whether it was a 
mistake to bring it. What is to be done with the 
engineers' equipment. How the machine guns can help. 
Whether it is necessary to employ the whole of the 
brigade in the attack. The undesirability of sending 
companies a long way to a flank, or deploying more men 
than necessary because of the loss of energy resulting 
therefrom. The safety of the artillery, and whether a 
direct or concealed position is best under the peculiar 
circumstances. A discussion of the artillery problem 
generally; whether it would be desirable to open fire 
with all the guns. The various stages of the infantry 
attack and its close support by artillery ; the capture of 
one locality to assist in the advance against another ; the 
artillery co-operation in these various stages. The selec- 
tion of the first locality to attack. 

It will be found that an advanced guard with so few 
cavalry will have great trouble in dealing with a hostile 
force if it consists of cavalry alone — in fact, in this situa- 
tion, were it not for the cavalry regiment at Rosegreen, 
moving towards Clerahan on the eastern flank and the 
river Suir on the western flank, the advanced guard would 
make extremely slow progress. It is a question whether 
the cavalry regiment at Rosegreen should not have been 
attached to the advanced guard, and the safety of the 
eastern flank secured either by distant patrols or a flank 
guard. For the purpose of this exercise, however, it is 
well to make the situation fairly difficult for the advanced 
guard. The 7th Red cavalry brigade, with which, so far, 
the advanced guard has been dealing, would be widely 
extended : one regiment would be on the Rosegreen, 
Clerahan road, and between that road and the Cashel, 
Caher road ; another regiment would be on the latter 
road and between that and the Suir ; and probably the 



400 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

third regiment, with the horse artillery, &c., would be in 
reserve on the Cashel, Caher road. Owing to the Suir 
and the mountains on the west flank, the Red cavaliy 
brigade, when driven on to its own infantry by the 
Blue advance, is certain to concentrate on the eastern 
flank. From notes such as these the director can decide 
the course of action taken by the enemy during the day, 
and can select the exact places where hostile fire is 
coming from. 

The third situation would be more serious for the 
officer commanding the Blue advanced guard. If he has 
been wise during the earlier skirmishes, and has not 
employed moi'e troops than were absolutely necessary, he 
will still possess a powerful force, quite capable of attack- 
ing anything but the enemy's main position. In European 
warfare it is a good rule for an advanced guard commander 
to mark on his map the position of his own troops at the 
moment when his cavalry are first stopped. If he folds 
the map at the point of contact he can then mark off the 
corresponding localities where the enemy's troops are 
likely to be. The cavalry will be some distance ahead of 
the infantry, and the advanced detachments of infantry 
will be echeloned back in ever-increasing strength till the 
enemy's main body is reached. If he knows whether the 
enemy is likely to be advancing, retiring, or halted, he can 
make a rough calculation of where he is likely to meet 
with serious resistance. This knowledge, added to the 
appearance of the ground in front, which is or is not 
suitable for occupation as a main defensive position, will 
tell him a good deal regarding the resistance that may be 
anticipated. If the enemy is advancing, his echelon of 
troops will be closing up and resistance will increase 
rapidly ; if he is retiring, this will not be the case ; if he is 
halted, the resistance will increase more slowly. Taking 
these points into considemtion, the officer commanding 



ADVANCED GUARDS 4ai 

the advanced guard can deal with the third situation 
which is suggested below. 

Situation No. III. 

1. The enemy were driven from their position at H, and 
also fell back from L and M. The cavalry regiment 
advancing from Rosegi-een report that they are engaging 
a hostile force about 0, and are not making much progress. 
Blue cavalry patrols on the west report that the ground 
is clear as far as the Suir. The Blue advanced guard 
lost seventeen men in the attack on H. • 

% The advanced guard again moved forward, and when 
the van-guard reached Q they overtook the cavalry, who 
were everywhere stopped on the line R, S, T, and hostrle 
artillery, probably a battery, had opened fire from the 
direction of R. 

3. The officer commanding the advanced guard rides 
forward to Q to reconnoitre. The exact position where 
the hostile fire is coming from and the localities reached 
by the troops of the Blue advanced guard will be indicated 
by the director on the ground. 

4. As officer commanding the advanced guard, state 
what you propose to do. 



In this situation the first object of the officer command- 
ing the advanced guard would be to endeavour to ascertain 
if the gix>und in front was occupied by the enemy's main 
force. The absence of any serious artillery fire, the resistance 
previously encountered, the features of the ground in front, 
and the nature of the situation would probably suggest 
that the hostile force in front consisted still of the enemy's 
advanced troops. 

If this was the case it would l)e the duty of the officer 
commanding the advanced guard to carry out his original 
insti'uctious, which were to drive back the enemy's advanced 

2 c 



402 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 
troops and endeavour to locate his main position. If therie 
is any high ground in the vicinity it might be possible to 
see beyond the line at present occupied by the enemy, and 
discover if there is any position in rear where his main body 
might be expected to be preparing for battle. 

The nature of the previous operations would have dis- 
closed the fact that the enemy does not appear to be either 
advancing or retiring, so he is probably halted. In that 
case he will be covered by infantry outposts, which must be 
driven back ; his cavahy will have cleared the front, and 
may be expected shortly to act with considerable vigour 
against one or both flanks of the advanced guard. The 
position and action of the cavalry attached to the advanced 
guard will therefore be a matter of impoiiant con-^ 
sideration. 

The chief difficulty in a situation of this nature is to 
protect the flanks of the advanced guard, so that the 
officer commandmg will first select the objective of his 
attack and then secure his flanks by the occupation of all 
important tactical localities in the vicinity, and thus secure 
not only his own safety, but that of the main body in real*. 

As regards the conduct of the attack, the points brought 
forward when dealing with the second situation will again 
appear, but as the ground is different, and the situation is 
more serious, the methods adopted for the attack will also 
vary. The action of the artillery will be more important 
than in the second situation, and as the possible movements 
of the enemy are quite unknown, the advanced guard com- 
mander, when disposing his artillery and making his 
arrangements for attack, will also consider the question of 
defence, in case a heavy attack is suddenly launched 
against him. 

As in the other situations, messages must be sent to the 
detached cavalry regiment and to the General commanding 
the main body. The question whether the latter should 



REAR-GUARDS 403 

now be with the advanced guard, so as to be ready to 
reconnoitre directly the enemy's advanced troops are driven 
back, and whether, if he is present, he ought to conduct 
the operations himself, can be again discussed. It will be 
found, whatever the situation or the ground may be like, 
that this exercise will be most instructive from the point 
of view of command. 

It will be noted in all the above operations that no 
attempt is made to fight out the battle ; all these schemes 
are useful only so far as deciding what to do. There is, 
however, no objection to dealing with the action of small 
units, such as companies, batteries, or squadrons, the officers 
being asked, .if they were commanding the leading company, 
how they would act and what orders they would give to 
their men. This is further dealt with in Chapter XX. 

The final stage of the above scheme would be the action 
of the advanced guard after driving back the enemy's out- 
posts and discovering his main position. There would not 
be time in one day to deal with this situation, but the chief 
points would be to occupy as good a defensive position as 
was available on a somewhat wider front than would 
ordinarily be employed, to pay great attention to the pro- 
tection of the flanks, to preserve the mobility of artillery 
by avoiding undue exposure, and be prepared for a heavy 
attack. As it is probable that the advanced guard will be 
required to remain in this position for some time, staff arrange- 
ments will be necessary to provide food and water for the 
men and horsies, to replace expended ammunition, and to 
arrange for the wounded. The engineers would, of course, 
be very busy assisting in the defensive arrangements. 

(C) The Action of a Rkar-Guard. 
There is a certain sameness about the various situations 
which can be produced for an exercise in the action of a 
rear- guard. The ground in each situation is different, but 



404 STAFF RIDES AND REGLMENTAL TOURS 

the only other change that can be made is in the vigour of 
the enemy's attack. 

For example, the first position which is taken up by a 
rear-guard, after an unsuccessful fight, must be held longer, 
as a rule, than the subsequent positions, because when once 
the defeated army has got well away along the roads, and has 
gained some semblance of organisation, the march continues 
uninterruptedly, unless some obstacle Has to be cixiesed. 

Two situations would probably be sufficient for one 
day\s work, the first situation being produced close to the 
battle-field, perhaps under hostile artillery fire, and subject 
to both artillery and infantry attack. ITie second situation 
would be farther back, where the rear-guard would be 
exposed to an attack from cavalry and horse artillery only. 

The situations which can be produced in this exercise 
are of three distinct types : 

1 . The staff an'angements made during a battle in case 
things go wrong. 

2. The organisation of a rear-guard when the troops are 
being driven back ; the occupation and defence of the 
position selected in the first situation. 

3. The retreat from the first position to another in rear, 
and the occupation and defence of the latter. 

The first situation involves so many considerations 
regarding the course of the action, the direction of the 
line of retreat, the natui'e of the attack, and the reserves 
that are likely to be available, that it is difficult to give an 
example without going into many details to explain the 
situation. 

In a battle fought out to the end there diould be theo- 
retically no reserve left, or perhaps the last reserve might 
have been thrown into the fight to secure some important 
tactical point and thus enable the remainder of the army 
to get away. The first rear-guard position is then on the 
battle-field itself, and that is what usually happens when 



REAR-GUARDS 405 

an army is driven from the field. The troops occupying 
this position would, however, rarely form the properly 
constituted rear-guard. Commanders and staff officers 
would organise a rear-guard from the troops that were 
retiring, collecting any complete battalions and batteries 
that they could find. These would immediately occupy 
the first actual rear-guard position, and allow the troops 
still on the original position to fall back behind them. 

The selection of this position during a battle would not 
be easy, because it would be uncertain what part of the 
defensive position would give way first. Probably two or 
three altf^rnative positions would be selected and recon- 
noitred. The following example, therefore, must not be 
taken to apply to all cases ; in fact, the situation produced 
might be described as abnormal, and it is only selected 
because the necessary details have already been given in 
Chapters V. and XII. 

We will suppose that the General commanding the 8th 
Bed division in the Tipperary scheme has decided to retire 
across the Suir if heavily attacked by a superior force on 
June 17, and to endeavour to draw the Blue force after 
him. That the Blue detached force delivered this attack, 
the main blow being directed against the Red eastern 
flank. In this case the Red commander would have at 
least one brigade and plenty of artillery available, to form 
a rear-guard, because, directly he had offered sufficient 
resistance to make Blue show his strength, he would be 
anxious to get away. The iirst situation would, therefore, 
be quite a simple one, the main difficulty being to prevent 
the wounded on the main position falling into the hands 
of the enemy. The director would go over the ground 
beforehand and select suitable positions for the rear-guard 
to hold dui'ing the retirement. The officers cpuld be 
assembled on the original position and given the first 
situation, which might take the following form : 



406 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Tactical Exercise on the Ground. 

The action of a rear-guard. 

RED. 

Sitiiation N^o. I. 

1. The distribution of the troops on the defensive posi- 
tion occupied by the Red force will be found in the 
operation orders issued last night. 

2. At 4 A.M. the Blue force advanced against the front 
of the position, and at 5 a.m. a heavy attack developed 
against the eastern flank. It was apparent that the 
enemy were superior in strength to Blue, and the Red 
commander decided to carry out his original intention and 
withdraw across the Suir through Caher. 

3. The 24th brigade with one field artillery brigade 
attached is ordered to select and occupy a rear-guard 
position north of Caher to cover the retreat of the re- 
mainder of the Red force. The cavalry brigade have been 
directed to guard the eastern flank of the rear-guard and 
eventually retire on Ardfinnan. 

4. As G.O.C. 24th brigade, decide what position you 
would take up, how you would occupy it, and what arrange- 
ments you would make for the retirement of the 2Snd 
brigade and of the brigade of artillery still on the main 
position. 

As regards paragraph 3, if this rear-guard position has 
alre€idy been selected and reconnoitred by an officer, the 
director can take the officers straight to it, the arrange- 
ments suggested by the reconnoitring officer can be accepted, 
and the whole party can be taken over the ground by the 
director and the general scheme of operations can be dis- 
cussed. This is perhaps the best way of doing the exercise, 
because it may take a long time for officers to walk over 
the ground and select a position for themselves. 



REAR-GUARDS 407 

When the first situation is issued, the officei's, if they 
have to reconnoitre the ground, should be asked to meet 
the director at some convenient place in an hour and a half 
or two houi's' time. The director would go over the 
ground and decide the best position to select, &c. When the 
officers reassemble he would ask them to explain their pro- 
posals, and would discuss the problem in the usual manner. 
He would then select the scheme which he thought was the 
best, either his own or that of another officer, take the 
officers over the ground, and work out the various details. 
ITie points which would arise for discussion in a situa- 
tion of this nature would depend a great deal on the 
direction of the line of retreat, and on the other matters 
abeady discussed. In this particular case the following 
details would probably be discussed. The extent of front 
occupied by the rear-guard ; as it will be attacked on the 
flanks without fail by the Blue cavalry, it is as well to 
occupy a fairly wide front, but as the successful Blue 
infantry will also be close at hand, there must be sufficient 
troops available along the front to prevent, ward of!*, or at 
least delay a direct infantry attack against the centre. 

The power of mobility of the artillery must not be lost, 
and consequently the artillery problem will be a very 
difficult one, especially considering that the attacking 
target will not be stationary. The question whether the 
cavalry commander should be independent of the General 
commanding the rear-guard will also afford a subject for 
discussion. If so, how can co-operation be arranged 
between the two so that the eastern flank of the infantry 
shall not be uncovered ? In this particular situation the 
Red cavalry would probably neutralise that of Blue, but 
on other occasions the rear-guard cavalry might have lost 
vei-y heavily and be of little use unless closely tied to the 
rear-guard. 

The retreat of the troops from the main position through 



408 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the rear-guard will be a difficult problem to solve, but 
great assistance could be given by the artillery, especially 
if the heavy artillery can find a safe position on the other 
side of the river Suir, where they can see the pursuing 
troops. The chief aim would be to avoid masking the fire, 
especially the artillery fire of the rear-guard. There is 
little doubt that in modem war pursuit will be carried out 
by artillery fire more extensively than in the past, so this 
makes the artillery problem in such a situation still more 
important. 

The rear-guard commander must be prepared at all 
times to make a more prolonged defence in this first posi- 
tion than originally seemed necessary, because blocks and 
breakdowns are almost certain to occur. The method of 
retiring from the rear-guard position will also provide an 
instructive problem. It is very easy on paper, but when 
we get on to the ground and find that the position is in- 
different, the direction of the enemy's main attack is un- 
known, or, as in this case, that the line of retreat does not 
go straight to the rear, but turns from south to west at 
Caher, we begin to realise that we are engaged in a difficult 
and dangerous operation. 

The second situation might deal with the retreat of the 
rear-guard across the Suir, and the occupation of another 
position on the right bank of that river. 

Situation No. IL 

1, The main body has crossed the Suir at Caher, The 
eastern fiank of the cavalry brigade has been attacked by 
hostile cavalry, and the brigade has been compelled to fall 
back to the Caher, Clonmel road, and is about to retire on 
Ardfinnan. 

2. The Red commander has directed the General com- 
manding the rear-guard to fall back as rapidly as possible 
and occupy si position on: the right bank of the. Snir. 



REAR-GUARDS 409 

3. The details of the enemy's attack will be described to 
officers on the ground. 

4. As officer commanding the rear-guard, explain how 
you propose to carry out this operation. 



There will no doubt be a discussion as to the effect of 
an obstacle of this nature on the operations of a rear-guard, 
its advcmtages and disadvantages, and how it can be utilised 
to the detriment of the pursuit. The chief difficulty is to 
get the last troops of the rear-guard safely on to the right 
bank. Here again artillery, if it can find suitable posi- 
tions, will be of the 'greatest assistance. The method of 
withdrawal from the last position will also be discussed, 
especially the question as to which part of that position is 
to be held as long as possible ; how the artillery are to 
retire^ and how many troops are to be finally left on the 
position until the last. Another point which frequently 
crops up is the number of ammunition waggons that should 
accompany each battery on such occasions, whether they 
pught to go back with the battery or beforehand ; whether 
it is necessary to retain an ammunition column between 
the rear-guard and the main body. Probably the best 
solution is to replace ammunition, both artillery and 
infantry, when every fresh position is taken up. Both 
infantry and artillery on rear-guard should have an un- 
stinted supply of ammunition available, and thus be in a 
position to make the fullest use of their quick-firing 
weapons. For the benefit of infantry officers a discussion 
might be initiated as to whether it is best to havehowitzers or 
quick-firing brigades with the rear-guard ; this would bring 
put instructive details regarding the methods of employ- 
ment of each, their quick-firing power, their ammunition 
supply, and capabilities of picking up a moving target or 
engaging pursuing artillery. Supply of ammunition should 
be easier for the rear-guard than for the pursuing troops. 



410 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The question of employing engineers with the rear- 
guard might also be considered, especially as regards the 
tools they carry for entrenching and demolition work, 
how these tools are carried and whether they would be an 
encumbrance to the rear-guard. The position of the 
officer commanding the rear-guard is also interesting. 
Should he remain till the last on each position, or should he 
be the first to go back to make arrangements for the occu- 
pation of the next position? The method of commanding 
the rear-guard also presents difficulties which are worth 
careful consideration. There is no object in having 
strong reserves, and there is an object in occupying a 
wide front, because it is more difficult for the cavalry to 
get round the flank and interfere with the main body. If 
the rear-guard occupies a wide front in fairly close country 
it may be difficult to get it back on one road, and if two 
roads must be used the rear-guard is then under two 
commanders. 

If officers are familiarised with all these difficulties 
during a peace exercise they will not be surprised when 
similar complications crop up in war. They will know 
that the command of a rear-guard is no sinecure, and, 
what is still more important, they will know the reason 
why. 

(D) The Aitack. 

A great deal of what has been said already, when dis- 
cussing the attack of an advanced guard, applies to any 
other attack. An exercise of this nature has distinct 
limitations, for the sufficient reason that the director and 
the officers who are receiving instruction cannot be in 
more than one place at one time. An attack extends 
over a very wide front, and it is impossible, and undesir- 
able, to attempt to deal with more than a small part of 
this front. 

The general command and staff work before the battle 



REAR-GUARDS 411 

comiTiences can no doubt be practised on the ground, 
because it is simply a matter of reconnaissance, the 
formation of a plan, and the issue of the necessary orders. 
For example, on .June 17 the officers on the Blue side 
could be taken out to the position held by the Blue 
advanced guard, and the enemy's position, so far as it 
would be known by Blue, could be pointed out by the 
director. The officers could then walk along the front of 
the position, keeping near their own outposts, and gauge 
its strength by studying the ground in front of them. 
The director would call a halt at every suitable spot and 
ascertain the opinions of the officers as to the strength of 
this part of the enemy's line ; whether the ground favours 
the attack or defence, if the former whether it would be 
desirable for strategical and tactical reasons to deliver the 
main attack from this neighbourhood. 

The chief strategical questions which would affect the 
problem would be whether this main attack, if successful, 
would not only defeat the enemy but drive him ft*om his 
line of communications, and whether by moving our 
troops to deliver this attack we should unduly expose our 
own line of communications. The chief tactical questions 
would be whether the ground was favourable for the 
advance of the infantry, closely supported by the artillery, 
to a good fire position, where it might be reasonably 
anticipated that superiority of fire could Ke obtained over 
the defence; whether one or both flanks of the attack 
could be guarded by cavalry, a physical obstacle, another 
infantry attack, or the occupation of a defensive position ; 
whether the attack, if successful, would gain such an 
impoii;ant tactical point in the enemy ""s position that he 
could no longer retain any important part of that posi- 
tion; whether the attack would be subject to enfilade 
artillery fire from the defence, or whether the attacking 
artillery could enfilade the artillery and infantry of the 



412 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 
defence ; finally, whether the ground in rear of the attack 
was suitable for the rapid movement of troops and for the 
various kinds of transport required for the administrative 
services of the battle. 

The above, of course, are only a few salient points to 
consider — it would be necessary to write an encyclopaedia 
even to attempt to suggest all the factors that might 
affect a tactical problem of this nature — but these will 
be sufficient to indicate the general line of discussion as 
each part of the enemy\s position is examined. Having 
studied every part of the position which it would be 
possible to examine in war, the director might ask the 
officers to write a tactical appi^ciation of the situation, 
and prepare the operation orders that should be issued 
for the attack. The whole situation and the exact 
position of all the Blue troops would be known to the 
officers, because these details would have been given in 
the narrative which was issued the previous evening. It 
is unnecessary, therefore, to issue any situations. It would 
probably take the whole day to do the above work, but if 
any time was available at the end the director might 
select one of the plans suggested, and take the officers 
over the ground chosen for the main attack, pointing out 
the advantages and disadvantages, how the former could 
be improved and the latter overcome, and paying par- 
ticular attention to artillery support throughout. There 
would be no time to deal with the various stages of the 
attack, but after making a plan, in considerable ignorance 
of the ground to be traversed, it is interesting at least to 
walk along the line selected for the main attack, because so 
many surprises are certain to crop up. 

To practise the actual attack of a body of troops it is 
necessary to produce a series of situations, as was done 
when dealing with the advanced guard. If it is intended 
to work out the attack of a division the preliminaries only 



REARGUARDS 41S 

can be dealt with as described above, and then the director 
with the officers must follow the movements of one brigade — 
in fact, it frequently occurs that the advance of one or two 
battalions only can be studied. 

These attacks are peculiarly suited to the training of 
regimental officers, because questions regarding the situa- 
tion and the ground are constantly raised which can only 
be dealt with in war by company, battery, and battalion 
or brigade commandei-s who are actually on the spot. 
Should the officer commanding a certain company halt at 
a certain spot or ought he to go on farther ? During his 
next advance should he endeavour to gain the far edge of 
that copse in front, or should he try and capture the small 
farm to the right of it. Should the battalion commander 
reinforce the company which is trying to capture that 
small hill, should he fill up the gap that has occurred in 
the attack, or should he assist the company at the hill by 
pushing forward another company to occupy a supporting 
position whence they can fire at the hill without hitting 
the men in front ? Similar decisions must be arrived at 
by artillery, brigade, and battery commanders regarding 
change of target or of position to meet special circum- 
stances. 

Hundreds of small questions of this nature which arise 
in war and demand immediate replies can be brought to 
notice and dealt with during these exercises, although 
the director and his party of officers can accompany 
in imagination only a very small part of the attacking 
force. It is the correct solution of these small questions 
which results in success in war, and therefore we shall not 
be wasting our time by trying to discover the difficulties 
which arise and by endeavouring to overcome them. 

It is necessary that a suitable piece of groimd should be 
selected for the exercise where there are small tactical 
features which can be carried one after the other. Open 



414 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

country where the attack advances in great lines is unsuit- 
able, because, as already stated, success does not depend so 
much on skilful forethought and leading as upon good 
discipline, moral, high-class shooting, and the closest 
co-operation between the infantry and the artillery. It 
is the recognition of the value of small tactical localities 
as a means for gaining the desired result — ^the defeat of 
the enemy**s troops — that leads to success in battle, and 
therefore the study of such localities in peace-time is 
invaluable. 

As an example of what might be done if the ground is 
found to be suitable, we can take the attack of the 18th 
Blue division against the Red force occupying a position 
north of Caher on June 17. 

The details of this attack would have been arranged the 
previous evening after a reconnaissance of the ground, but 
we will suppose that the Blue commander has decided to 
employ his 52nd brigade on the west of the main road, his 
53rd brigade on the east of it, and his 54th brigade, sup- 
ported by the 45th brigade, to make the main attack 
against the enemy's eastern flank, the cavalry to guard the 
outer flank of this attack. One brigade of artillery to 
support the attack of the 52nd and 53rd brigades, and 
the remainder of the artillery to support the main attack. 
The Brigadier-Generals commanding the 52nd and 53rd 
brigades being informed confidentially that they must be 
prepared to act on the defensive if their attack fails, and 
therefore must keep a strong reserve in hand. 

The director can order the officers to meet him at a 
selected spot where the 54th brigade would be compelled 
to deploy their first troops, and where the artillery would 
be finding positions to support the attack. The first 
exercise would be to discuss the orders and general plan of 
attack, when such questions as the following might arise : 
Was it sound to deploy the whole force and practically to 



REAR-GUARDS 415 

keep no reserve available for the unexpected event ? A 
good deal would depend on the situation. The 18th divi- 
sion was ordered to clear the valley of the Tar and rejoin 
the main Blue army, via Ballylanders, in time for a battle 
somewhere east of Kilmallock, very much in the same way 
as the 2nd Bavarian Corps was ordered to move round the 
north side of the Hochwald before the battle of Worth in 
1870, whilst the remainder of the Crown Prince's army 
advanced along the south side of it. It was therefore 
plain that speed was all-important. If the attack failed 
further reinforcements would be required from the main 
Blue army, because the latter could not continue its 
advance westwards with a hostile Red force, which some 
25,000 Blue troops had failed to dislodge, still on their 
flank. On the other hand, it was quite possible that the 
greater part of the Red army might have occupied this 
flank position at Caher much in the same way as Stonewall 
Jackson occupied his flank position at Swift Run Gap to 
prevent Banks from moving farther south in April 1862. If 
the Blue commander threw every man into the fight from the 
commencement of the battle, and he suddenly found him- 
self being attacked by a greatly superior force, he might be 
completely defeated, and the enemy would be on the Blue 
lines of communication before the main Blue army could 
interfere. 

The solution would be found in the study of the ground. 
If there was a position which could be held strongly in 
case of accidents by the brigades making the frontal 
attack, there would be no serious danger in employing 
two brigades, one behind the other, in making the flank 
attack, more especially considering the fact that the Blue 
lines of communication could be more directly covered by 
the two brigades making the flank attack than those making 
the frontal attack, because they run back to the north-east 
almost parallel to the front of the Blue line of battle. 



4l6 STAFF RIDES AND REOIMRNTAL TOURS 

The above is only inserted as a type of what might be 
discussed, and to accentuate the fact that the solution of 
most of these problems is to be found by a study of the 
ground and of the immediate situation. 

The next point that might be considered would be the 
distribution of the artillery, whether it should be placed 
entirely under the General commanding the divisional 
artillery, or some of it under the infantry brigadiers. 
Another question regarding the artillery would be whether 
any arrangements had been made for bringing a ci*oss fire 
to bear on the enemy's eastern flank, so as to enfilade any 
defence of that flank. The whole plan of artillery co- 
operation should be carefully considered and alternatives 
suggested. 

The position of the Blue commander would be an in- 
teresting point. Should he accompany the flank attack ? 
If so, would it not be better to place the two brigades 
making the frontal attack under one commander ? If so, 
where were the commander and his staft* to come from ? If 
the Red commander was to occupy a central position in 
rear, who was to command the main attack ? or could it be 
left to the two brigadiers, of which the one command- 
ing the brigade in second .line might be senior to the 
other ? 

The question whether the frontal attack should be 
made before or simultaneously with the flank attack ; if 
the latter, how are the two attacks to be timed, and who 
is to give the word ? Should the artillery of th6 flank 
attack open fire directly they can see a target, even if the 
infantry are not yet ready to commence their advance ? 
Should the attack have commenced at dawn, the brigades 
for the flank attacks having been moved to the required 
position during the night ? If so, is it safe to move troops 
in this manner at night, unless the whole areA to be 
traversed is covered by infantry or cavalry outposts ? The 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE ATTACK 417 
practice and training that are necessary in peace-time for 
such operations can also be discussed. 

What has been done with the second line transport, the 
tent divisions of the field ambulances, and the cavalry field 
ambulance? Where ai*e the ammunition columns and 
the supply columns? How are the telegraph company 
and the engineer field companies employed ? 

These and many others of a similar nature are all ques- 
tions of command and staff work which it is as well to 
realise and be prepared to solve in war, and they show 
officers how much more administration there is in tactics 
than most people imagine. Having thoroughly discussed 
the plan of attack and the direct or concealed positions 
selected for the artillery, the first situation can be issued. 
The following is suggested as suitable : 

Tactical Exercise on the Ground. 

ITie Attack. 

Situation No. I. 

1. The attack of the 52nd and 53rd brigades has com- 
menced, and a heavy hostile artillery fire can be heard to 
the west. The Blue cavalry and horse artillery to the 
east are also engaged with the enemy. 

2. It is believed, but it is by no means certain, that 
the eastern flank of the enemy**s position rests at A, and 
that his line of defence runs westwards through B and C ; 
a counter-stroke is more likely to be delivered from his 
eastern than from his western flank, on account of the 
river Suir on the latter flank. 

S. The 54th brigade and a field company Royal 
Engineers is drawn up in assembly formation at D, close 
behind the picquets of the outposts furnished by the 
53rd brigade, which have been ordered to rejoin their 
brigade as soon as the 54th brigade passes through 
them. These outposts extend from the main road at E 

2d 



418 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

through F to G, where they are in touch with the Blue 
Cavalry Brigade. 

4. The artillery are all in the positions selected, one Q.F. 
brigade being in a position of readiness at H. 

5. The 45th brigade is in assembly formation at J, 
and the eastern flank of the attack of the 5Srd brigade is 
atK. 

6. As officer commanding the 54th brigade describe your 
plan of attack and state what verbal orders you would issue 
to your battalion commanders. 



The officers might be ordered to meet the director at 
some convenient point in front, which it is probable that 
the 54th brigade could occupy without serious trouble. 

The discussion on this situation would deal chiefly with 
the infantry deployment and advance. The number of 
battalions that should be deployed in first line, the first 
objective that should be given to these battalions so that 
the advance can be made in stages. The employment of 
the engineer company and what is to be done with their 
tool waggons. Arrangements for the supply of ammunition 
and for collecting and disposing of the wounded. The 
positions of the ammunition columns and field ambulances. 
According to the scheme, the 45th brigade has, apparently, 
got no field ambulance, probably it was forgotten by the 
officer who prepared the general and special ideas. The 
means of communication between the 45th brigade, the 
cavalry, the 53rd brigade, the artillery commander, and 
the headquarters of the Red force. The question whether 
the general commanding the 54th brigade should com- 
municate his requirements as regards artillery to the 
artillery commander direct, or through the headquarters of 
the Blue foi'ce. The position of the Blue headquarters 
and of the artillery commander would have been di»- 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE ATTACK 419 
cussed and decided upon before the fii^t situatimi was 
issued. 

The attention of oflBcers can then be directed to smaller 
matters. The advance of one of the battalions of the 54th 
brigade can be discussed. How many companies should 
be deployed at first, what is to be done with the machine 
gun, the ammunition mules, and the battalion bearers ? 
The attention of the officers can then be directed to the 
action of one of the companies. How should it move for* 
ward and what should be the action of the scouts ? Should 
two sections be deployed or only one ? How can the com* 
panics in second line advance in close formation by making 
use of the cover afforded by the ground and without 
losing direction ? How can one company assist the advance 
of another to the right or left of it ? The general tendency 
should be to deploy no more men at first than is absolutely 
necessary. Directly a man is deployed a call is made on 
his moral and physical energy ; he possesses a limited amount 
of each, so it should be husbanded carefully and used 
always with the best effect. 

The second situation can then be issued. This would 
deal with the next stage of the advance. When preparing 
the various situations and deciding where they should be 
issued, we are greatly asssisted by a consideration of the 
ordinary course of an attack. Everything is done in stages. 
The first great object is to establish a good fire position 
from which the infantry and artillery of the attack may 
hope to obtain a superiority of fire over the defence. To 
reach this fire position every commander from a company 
officer to a divisional general is constantly asking himself 
the question " What shall I do next ? "" 

For a small exercise with regimental officers the situations 
can be prepared and issued at short intervals of time and 
s|)ace. Tlie company or battalion commander will say to 
himself, " I have gained this locality, ought I to go on 



420 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

further, and if so how shall I advance and how far shall I 
go ? How can I help the companies or battalions to the 
right and left either by capturing some locality in fi-ont to 
assist their advance, or by bringing flanking or covering 
fire to bear on that part of the enemy's line which they are 
attacking?'' With brigade and divisional commanders 
more complex problems arise, which involve considerations 
of artillery and cavalry action, and many details of adminis- 
tration, some of which have already been referred to. 

The director, when he is preparing the plan of the day's 
work can easily discover, by studying the ground, where 
each fresh situation is likely to arise, and, from his know- 
ledge of what the enemy is doing, can create the various 
situations accordingly. With regimental officers, when 
small forces only are dealt with, four or even five situations 
can be worked out in a day, but on a Staff Ride, where 
numerous questions of staff* work and command must be 
discussed, two or three situations are quite sufficient. The 
second or third situations should deal with a counter-stroke, 
so as to test the aiTangements previously made, and ensure 
that the officei's, while absorbed in their own attack, have 
not lost sight of the fact that they may be suddenly 
attacked themselves. The second situation might take the 
following form : 

Situation No. IF. 

1. The leading troops of the 54ch brigade have reached 

the line L M . The exact position of the vai'ious 

companies and battalions in front line, in support, and in 
reserve, will be pointed out by the director on the ground. 

2. The G.O.C. 54th brigade has been ijiformed that the 
attack of the 52nd and 53rd brigades is progressing slowly, 
but that the cavalry brigade to the east have been unable 
to gain any ground to the front. 

3. The parts of the enemy's position whence the heaviest 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE ATTACK 421 

infantiy and artillery fire appears to be coming will be 
indicated by the director on the ground. 

4. (fl) As G.O.C. artillery of the Blue force explain 
what changes if any, should be made in the artilleiy 
scheme of attack ; (b) as G.O.C. 54th brigade state what 
methods you would adopt to continue the attack, and 
what messages you would send to the G.O.C. Blue force 
as regards the action of the ai tillery. 

5. The artillery officers will work out 4 (a), and the 
infantry, engineer and cavalry officers will deal \vith 4 (6). 

Note. — If the officers are working in parties of three, 
one officer can represent the Blue commander, one the 
G.O.C. 54th brigade, and one the G.O.C. artilleiy, each 
party forwarding one complete scheme of action. 



The discussions which would arise in this second situa- 
tion would deal with more general points, including the 
action of the artillery and the cavalry, the movements, if 
any, of the 45th brigade in reserve, the replenishment of 
ammunition, the collection and disposal of the wounded, 
the filling up of any gaps in the line of attack, and the 
protection of a flank of artillery or infantry which had 
become exposed by the forward movement. 

It will probably be found that more companies and 
battalions have already been deployed than was absolutely 
necessary, and there will be a temptation to draw away 
troops frjm the 45th brigade in reserve. 

The artillery problem, especially if it involves a change 
of position, will form a most instructive subject for dis- 
cussion, and the value of retaining in the first instance 
complete power of movement will be appreciated. The 
tactics of the howitzers and of the heavy battery can be 
fully discussed, together with any changes in the positions 
of the ammunition columns. 



422 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Seeing that the cavalry have been stationary since the 
commencement of the engagement, there will be a gap 
between the outer flank of the infantry attack and the 
cavalry brigade, owing to the advance of the former. The 
question as to how the infantry flank can now be protected, 
whether by moving up cavalry or infantry reserves, can 
also be considered. It occurs sometimes, as at Gravelotte, 
that the infantry, originally intended to make the flank 
attack, discover, after deployment, that they are not strik- 
ing the enemy's flank, but part of his front. The cavalry 
covering the flank of the attack will then be in a difficult 
position, because they will have part of the enemy's main 
position in front of them, and also the enemy's cavalry to 
deal with. This will usually result in loss of groond by 
the attacking cavalry, and the further exposure of the 
outer flank of the infantry. 

In this second situation it may be possible to see suffi- 
cient of the ground in front, and of the enemy's main 
position, to decide what ground should be held by the 
infantry as the final fire position. If this is the case the 
energies of the infantry commanders should be devoted to 
gaining this gi'ound as rapidly as possible, and the artillery 
commander would arrange his plans so that every gun can 
take part in the final fire fight. Meanwhile the cavalry 
commander would be engrossed in his endeatours to protect 
the outer flank of the attack. 

A scheme worked out in this manner brings many diffi- 
culties to light and causes officers to realise how rapidly 
troops get used up in an attack, and what great depth is 
required in all offensive action if success is to be gained. 

E. — The Dkfenc^k. 
A tactical exercise in defence is easy to conduct because 
there is no movement of troops except as regards the 
counter-stroke. The exercise resolves itself into a study of 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 423 

the ground and a selection of the best localities for the 
infantry, artillery, and administrative units of the force to 
occupy, the protection of the flanks by all arms, and the 
possibilities and preparations for a counter-stroke. The 
last being most frequently neglected and being the most 
important item of all. 

It has been found in practice that the officers during 
one day's work cannot deal adequately Avith more than 
about two miles of fi'ont. If possible, therefore, the size 
of the force should be suitable for the occupation of such 
a position, say an infantry division and a cavalry brigade. 
This would enable the commander to retain a powerful 
reserve ready to assume the offensive, with sufficient local 
reserves to secure the main position. If it is desired to 
employ a larger force, then only part of the position can 
be studied in the day. 

As the principles involved in the defence of a small 
position by one or two battalions with a few guns, and 
the operations of several divisions under similar circum- 
stances, are practically the same, the size of the force 
which is selected for the exercise is immaterial. It is con- 
venient to take the operations of the Red force north of 
Caher, as an example, because we know the general situation. 
It will be necessary to change, slightly, the intentions of 
the Hed commander as stated in the narrative given in 
Chapter X., and to suppose th«t he has decided to fight a 
defensive battle, with the intention of attacking the 
enemy whenever an opportunity occurs. 

The position would have been reconnoitred by some 
Hed officers on the previous day, and all details regarding 
its occupation would be found in the orders issued by the 
Ked commander. The officers should be ordered to meet the 
directorat some convenient placeonone flank of the position, 
and the subject for the first discussion would be the orders 
of the Red commander, disclosing his scheme of defence. 



424 STAFF RIDES Al^D REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The details of this discussion, so far as the administra? 
tive arrangements of the battle are concerned, would be 
somewhat similar to those described for the attack. 
There would be three important matters to consider 
as regards the general situation. First, why the Red 
commander chose the position, secondly, his reasons for 
placing his reserves in the position selected, and thirdly 
his reasons for the distribution of his cavalry on one or 
both flanks of the position. 

The refiisons for the selection of the position would 
involve a study of the strategical situation, the direction 
of the lines of retreat, the possibilities for offensive action 
out of the position, the strategical and tactical difficulties 
of the enemy**s attack, and the security of the flanks. The 
position of the general reserve would be ruled by con- 
siderations of where the enemy would be likely to make 
mistakes, and where the ground is suitable for offensive 
action. The comparative strength of the cavalry on each 
flank would involve a discussion on the strategical situa- 
tion, the probable position and action of the enemy^s 
cavalry, the suitability of the ground for cavalry action cm 
one flank, as compared with that on the other, and the 
possibility of the cavalry being placed so as to cover the 
outer flank of a great counter-stroke. 

In a carefully selected and skilfiilly occupied defensive 
position many difficulties in the way of ammunition supply, 
care of wounded, &c., would disappear, but other difficul- 
ties in connection with blocking up the roads in rear of 
the position by the tent divisions of the field ambulances, 
ammunition columns, local and general reserves, en^neer 
tool waggons, artillery teams, &c., must be dealt with by the 
staff. The position and safety of the second line transport, 
supply columns, &c., would also be considered. 

The general scheme of artillery defence would then be 
studied and a I'eason required for everything. These 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 425 

reasons are perfectly obvious to artillery officers, but it is 
desirable that infantry officei's should also be acquainted 
with them, because then they learn what can be expected 
from the artillery, and what is difficult or dangerous. It 
is equally important that the artillery officers should 
become thoroughly acquainted with the difficulties of the 
infantry, so that they can play their part of assisting and 
supporting the infantry at every period of the battle. 

Artillery subjects would be — the possibility of enfilad- 
ing any part of the attack, especially with heavy guns ; 
the difficulties of observation ; the system of control, 
involving rapid change of target, and concentration of 
fire ; the tactical use of howitzers in the defence, especially 
for sweeping the reverse slopes of knolls, &c., where the 
enemy might collect, or any point where the enemy's front 
might be narrowed ; observation of fire from balloons ; 
arrangements of telephones and communication generally 
between the infantry and the artillery ; whether any of 
the guns should be placed under the command of an 
infantry brigadier; the power of the artillery to deal 
with the hostile artillery and later with the enemy ^s 
infantry ; and, finally, the reasons for placing more guns 
in one part of the position than in another. 

As regards the infantry, reasons might be elicited for 
the selection of the front line of defence, and for the 
comparative number of men employed in various parts of 
the line; other points for consideration would be the 
positions selected for the local reserves, and for the 
machine guns, and whether the latter are to be brigaded 
or not ; the number of troops that are to be put in the 
firing-line at the commencement of the battle, and what 
the commander proposes to do if the attack comes against 
his right or his left front instead of, as he expects, against 
his centre. The withdrawal of the outposts, and the 
occupation of any advanced positions would also be 



4-26 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

considered. It will be seen from the above details that 
it will be necessary to study not only the command 
orders but also the brigade orders that would have been 
prepared the previous evening. 

The passive occupation of defensive positions has led to so 
many disastrous results in former wars, that when suggested 
it is as well for the director to ascertain that the officer 
commanding the force has a good reason for adopting such a 
course. Any officer who occupies a defensive position and 
stands to receive battle should ask himself the question : 

" Where do I expect my force to be at the end of the 
fight?" 

There are only three replies to this question. 

1. The force may have repulsed the attack, advanced 
out of the position with a great part of the troops, driven 
back the enemy, and be following him up. 

2. It may have repulsed the attack and retained its 
original position. 

3. It may have been driven back itself and be in full 
retreat. 

The first of these alone means victory, and therefore if 
an officer occupies a defensive position with the object of 
gaining a victory, he must, from the very first, dispose his 
troops so that a large part of his force is well placed and 
ready to attack, closely supported by artillery fire, with 
cavalry available to guard the outer flank of the attack, 
and to confirm the success. 

These and other points which will be suggested by the 
officers or will readily occur to the director as the discussion 
proceeds, will form a very instructive conference. 

Having dealt with the general plan of battle, the 
director can now turn the attention of the officers to the 
details of the defence, commencing with the flank where 
the officers have assembled. The defence of a flank is at 



TACTICAL EXERCISES^THE DEFENCE 427 

all times a peculiarly instructive exercise, because the 
ground in two positions is never the same, and consequently 
the flank in each case must be dealt with in a different 
manner. 

The principles contained in Combined Training regard- 
ing the defence of a flank should be brought to notice by 
the director, and the officers should endeavour to apply the 
principles to the situation and ground in front of them. 
The officers might then be told to walk over the ground 
in the neighbourhood and write down in their notebooks 
a description of how they would defend the flanks with the 
troops allotted for the purpose in the orders of the previous 
evening. When the officers have reassembled and they 
have explained their schemes, some of the following points 
will form instructive subjects for discussion : 

The gi'eat object of every commander, when acting on 
the defensive, is to meet the main attack with the main 
defence, to contain the holding attack against other parts 
of the line, and preserve a large force for offensive action. 
This was the system adopted by Wellington, who was a 
master in the art of active defence. 

Officers, when occupying defensive positions, frequently 
refuse the flank in order to bring fire to bear over ground 
at an angle to the front. This leaves a weak salient at 
the very point where the enemy's attack will be delivered 
it* he chooses this flank for his main attack. Wellington's 
method was to occupy lightly all important tactical points 
along his front, and wide of his flanks, with strong local 
reserves in rear, and keep a powerful force available for 
counter-stroke. If the attack came from any direction but 
the front he thus retained the power of changing the direc- 
tion of his line of battle and opposing a powerful defence to 
the enemy's main attack when it became apparent, drawing 
in his reserves from elsewhere. The angle in his position 
was not therefore on the flank, but towaids the centre, where 



428 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the enemy was making what is now called a holding attack, 
and therefore this angle was not so dangerous. It is very 
instructive to endeavour to apply this principle to modem 
war during a Staff Ride, but such an operation requires 
very careful reconnaissance and good staff arrangements 
beforehand. 

Any defence of a relxised flfuik is very apt to be enfiladed 
by the artillery of the attack. The flank, itself is liable to 
a converging fire of hostile artillery, whilst the artilleiy 
fire of the defence is rarely able to enfilade such an attack, 
and must naturally be diverging. The increasing range 
of modern artillery accentuates this disadvantage to the 
defence ; the arc of possible artillery positions round the 
flank of the defence is much wider now than it was formerly, 
because it has a longer radius. For example, at the battle 
of Ligny in 1815, the French could not deploy half the 
number of guns against the Prussian salient at St. Amand 
that they could to-day. Such a salient under modem 
conditions of wai* would probably be untenable by the 
defence. The artillery problem for the defence of the 
flank will therefore be very difficult, and endeavours should 
be made to find positions for a large number of guns that 
can deal in safety with an attack against the flank. 

The infantry defence of any part of a position is always 
frontal for the company, and usually for the battalion, the 
selection of the exact spot where each man is to fire from 
is the most important consideration. During these exer- 
cises, especially with regimental officers, it is essential to 
stand in the exact place suggested for the infantry and for 
the guns. To deal in generalities and to allow officers to 
state vaguely that the infantry will be deployed along that 
bank, and the artillery will be placed on that hill, affords 
no instruction. There are generally alternative positions, 
both for infantry and artillery, and the object of the exer- 
cise is to discover which is the best for each. 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 429 

Our old friend, the convex slope, is a most difficult 
problem to deal with. At the battle of Worth in 1870, 
there were several spurs with convex slopes which ran 
straight out of the French position. The French occupied 
the points of these spurs on what might be called the 
forward crest. Many people think they should have gone 
right back ; others think they should have gone right 
forward ; but every one agrees that a convex slope should 
be avoided if possible. Under more modem conditions of 
war the forward position, about a third of the way down 
the slope, appears to be generally condemned. The field 
of fii*e immediately in front of the trenches is very short, 
and the fire over the low ground beyond is of a plunging 
nature. Very high authorities consider that it is best to 
go right forward to the foot of the slope and place the 
artillery in concealed positions on the top of the hill in 
rear. The field of fire is usually better, the ground is 
frequently hidden by trees or crops, and consequently it is 
not so easy for attacking artillery to deal with the in- 
fantry of the defence, and if there is any covered way 
down the slopes to the foot, it is probable that the dis- 
advantages are less in this case than in any other. At 
the same time, if there is no covered way down the slope, 
no reinforcements, ammunition, water or food can be 
passed down to the defences during daylight, and the 
wounded must wait till dark before they can be removed. 
The system of going right back behind the crest is some- 
what similar to Wellington's usual method. The troops 
are immune from hostile artillery fire, but can make little 
use of their own. For a force greatly inferior to the attack 
in artillery this method would probably be the best. It 
would be extremely difficult for the attack to advance 
beyond the crest, and if they gained that during the day, 
a few local counter-strokes during the night would prob- 
ably dislodge them. 



430 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

In the search for a good field of fire for the infantiy 
another difficulty will crop up. In one part of the line it 
will be desirable to go forward, and in another to go 
back. The result will be that the general line of defence 
is not cleai'ly defined, and every marked salient caused by 
the occupation of a firing position some distance in 
advance of the rest will be a source of weakness to the 
defence. The desire to go forward is clearly referred to 
in Combined Training, and we are told that the tempta- 
tion must be resisted. It is necessary, therefore, for us to 
harden our hearts and be prepared to accept a bad field of 
fire along some parts of our line of defence. The method 
of reinforcing the infantry firing line can be considered, 
and the number of troops which are required for each 
part of the position should be noted as the exercise 
progresses. 

Before leaving the flank the director may ask the 
officers to consider whether, given a favourable oppor- 
tunity, the ground would be suitable for a counter-stroke 
to be delivered outside this flank. The suitability of 
ground for an operation of this nature depends chiefly on 
the absence of obstacles, the possibility of adequate sup- 
port from the greater part of the defending artillery, a 
straight line of advance without any change of direction 
to the right and left and over ground which is not likely 
to be under a heavy artillery or enfilading fire from the 
attack. The possibility of enfilading from the main position 
any hostile troops that form front to meet the countei>stroke. 
The ground on the outer flank of the counter-stroke being 
suitable for the action of horse artillery and cavalry, and 
the inner flank protected by the main position. It is 
these considerations which make it difficult, in modem 
war, to deliver a counter-stroke from the centre, but if the 
enemy is making a heavy attack on both flanks, and he is 
defeated in his weak centre, the blow will be most deadly,and 



TACTICAI. EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 431 

he will probably be unable to collect the wings of his army 
without i-etreating some distance from the field of battle. 
At Salamanca Wellington cut Marmonfs force in two 
and completely defeated him, and compelled him to retire 
to Burgos. At Austerlitz Napoleon defeated the Russian 
and Austrian centre and finished the war. In both these 
battles the attackers were endeavouring to strike the 
flank nearest to the defenders'* line of communications, but 
left their centre inadequately guarded. 

A selection from any of the above points will form suit- 
able subjects for discussion before leaving the flank of the 
position. The officers should then be taken along the line 
of defence, halting and deciding on the defence of each 
tactical point as it is reached. It will be found that large 
numbers of troops are used up very rapidly, and the 
officers, as they proceed, will be compelled to limit their 
allotment of troops to each locality to what is absolutely 
necessary, and not to what they consider desirable. 
In this manner the strength and weakness of the 
various parts of the position can be gauged, and the troops 
allotted accordingly. Many alternative artillery posi- 
tions will be selected and the sites for gun-pits chosen. 
The local reserves will be placed behind the weakest part 
of the position more with the object of delivering a local 
counter-stroke than to reinforce the line of defence. 

Woods close in front of a position are not a very great 
danger if their near edges are under effective fire. It is 
extremely difficult to get attacking troops through a wood 
in good order, and even more difficult to initiate an attack 
from the edge nearest the enemy. Large woods on a flank 
cause uneasiness to the defence, but it is difficult to 
attack out of them, and still more difficult to find 
artillery positions to support the attack. 

A stream well in front of a position is useful for outposts 
before the battle, but it is fatal to a counter-stroke. 



432 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Small features, such as knolls, copses, farmsteads, and 
enclosures, favour the attack rather than the defence. 
They give objectives to the attacking battalions, and 
form rallying points in case the attack is driven back. 
These features close in front of the line of defence are 
peculiarly embarrassing, and are frequently occupied as 
advanced posts. It would be impossible here to enter 
into a dissertation on the subject of advanced posts, but 
points for discussion would include the difficulty of re- 
inforcing them, supplying them with ammunition, and 
removing the wounded ; the concentrated fire which the 
attack can bring against them, the clear mark they offer 
to the enemy ""s guns, and the difficulty in defending 
them, because it is rarely possible to bring a cross-fii^ to 
bear on the ground in front, owing to the fact that the 
troops on the main position have plenty to do to look 
after their own front. If the defenders are driven out of 
them and retire they will mask the fire from the main 
position, and the attacking troops, closely following up, 
will probably secure a good fire position, or may even gain 
a footing on the defenders'* main position itself. If the 
garrison of an advanced post is compelled to surrender it 
has a bad moral effect on the troops behind, who begin 
to think the battle is going against them. At the same 
time, these posts frequently exist and must be dealt with, 
especially if they afford good cover for the howitzers of 
the attack. If occupied by the attacking troops, they will 
interfere with local counter-strokes, and facilitate the 
enemy's operations if he is making a holding attack 
against this part of the position. 

The effect of woods on or in front of a defensive position 
can be discussed with advantage, because officers appear to 
be very fond of defending woods and attacking through 
woods. The chief points are the enormous number of 
troops they absorb both in attack and defence and the 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 433 

indecisive nature of any struggle for their possession, espe- 
cially inside the wood itself. 

If a company is- sent forward to the attack over fairly 
open ground every man goes forward and at least uses his 
rifle, even if he does not hit anything. In the same way, 
every man who is sent forward to a shelter trench on the 
defence can also be made to use his rifle ; but it appears 
from the experience of past wars that a large number of 
men who get into a wood do not use their rifles at all, and 
are practically lost to the fight. The bravest go on, and 
they lose heavily, especially in officers. This increases 
the. difficulty of control, and gives further excuse for doing 
nothing. 

It is probable that a clearing in a wood is even easier to 
defend in modem war than it was in the past. With 
quick-firing rifles the defenders can have several shots at 
men rushing the clearing, whereas thirty or forty years 
ago they could have only one shot. The clearing on the 
left flank at Worth, though it absorbed a vast number of 
French troops, was never carried by the Germans till they 
had won the battle in another part of the field. 

If the scheme allows plenty of time to prepare the 
position for defence, a discussion on obstacles will be 
instructive. An obstacle should always be under fire from 
the defence, and, if possible, should come as a surprise to 
the attack. For example, if it is proposed to put a wire 
entanglement on a low ridge in front of the defensive 
position, the site selected should be well down the near 
slope, so that the attackers when lining the crest will not 
see it till they advance, when they must either run back or 
be delayed at the obstacle, in either case suffering heavy 



All kinds of problems will arise in the selection of the 
actual place where the infantry and the artillery are to be 
placed, but the chief points to bear in mind are ; first, to 

2 B 



434 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

endeavour to obtain the fullest effect from the long range 
of both guns and rifles; secondly, to ensure that the 
ground in front of the position is swept at least by 
infantry or artillery fire in front of the strong points, and 
by both artillery and infantry fire in front of the weak 
parts, or where the enemy is likely to make his main 
attack. Machine guns in weak parts of the line of defence 
are invaluable, and if well concealed can do almost as good 
service at short range as shrapnel. Behind every weak 
part of the defence local reserves should be available and 
told off^ to make an immediate counter-stroke if the enemy 
penetrates the position. 

The above points, mostly elaborated from Infantry, 
Artillery, and Combined Training, will form ample subjects 
for discussion, and it is easy to bring forward others. 

Having completed the tour of the position, if there is 
time, it is always interesting to go out to the enemy'^s 
side and see how it looks from the point of view of 
the attack. 

It should be understood by all officers taking part in 
these exercises that the decisions given by the director 
regarding the scheme and the progress of events should be 
treated quite differently as compared with the decisions 
given regai*ding the application of the principles of 
strategy, tactics, or administration. 

The decisions regarding the scheme must be absolute ; 
they cannot be disputed, and no good purpose can be 
served by making them a subject for argument. The 
director, before the exercise commences, should make up 
his mind what the enemy would probably do to meet each 
new situation. If he decides that the enemy when heavily 
attacked on the left flank will deli ver a counter-stroke from 
the right flank, the director should stick to this plan 
throughout. He should not change the movements of the 
enemy merely to checkmate the officei's who are endeavour- 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— THE DEFENCE 435 

ing to solve the problem. At the same time, the exercise 
should not be allowed to go too smoothly without any 
difficulties arising during the operations. The director 
should endeavour, at each stage of the proceedings, to in- 
troduce certain difficulties into the situation which are 
likely to occur in war, but not to pile up difficulties to defeat 
every suggestion which may be put forward by the officers 
under instruction. 

The decision regarding the scheme having once been 
given, it must be accepted cheerfully by the officers, who 
should be given to understand that though the situation 
may appear to be difficult, unreasonable, or even impossible, 
the problems which arise in war are even more unreason- 
able or impossible. An officer who is attacking with one 
division, against an enemy who is believed to have only a 
brigade, may feel some indignation when the director 
informs him that the attack of part of his division, even 
though supported by heavy artillery fire, has failed. Yet 
in war such things are the rule rather than the exception. 
For example, an officer may deploy one brigade of his 
division supported by another, but he cannot expect the 
leading brigade to carry the position without some assis- 
tance from the brigade in rear. 

The decisions regarding the application of the principles 
of strategy, tactics, and administration can be treated in a 
different manner. We all know that there is more than 
one solution to a problem, and no one can say which is the 
right one, or which is the best, in the absence of real men, 
bullets, and shells. The director, however, when giving his 
decisions, discards one solution and accepts another, 
because the one is opposed to the accepted principles of 
war and the other is not. It is frequently a matter of ' 
opinion whether one plan is better than another, when 
both are good ; but when one plan violates the principles 
of war and another does not, it is easy to decide that the 



436 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

one is bad and the other good, and to produce conclusive 
arguments to prove the fact. 

When the decision is given by the director, the officers 
should be afforded an opportunity of explaining their own 
ideas on the subject, and even be allowed to suggest 
criticisms of the plan adopted by the director. Dis- 
cussions which arise on these matters are invaluable — 
in fact, they are the essence of the instruction which is 
imparted. 

At the same time, officers should be given due credit for 
carrying out even an indifferent plan with determination 
and vigour. The histories of past campaigns are fruitful 
of examples where success has been purchased by these 
qualities rather than by the skill displayed in the prepara- 
tion of the plan. If officers during these exercises are 
taught that everything they do is wrong, they are apt to 
lose faith in their own abilities, or else to doubt the abili- 
ties of the instioictor. 

The whole object of the exercises is to teach officers to 
rely on their own opinions and resources when the enemy 
is in front of them. The director therefore should be 
careful to give full credit for everything that is good 
in any course of action which is recommended ; in fact, 
his attitude throughout should be favourable rather 
than antagonistic to the opinions expressed by the 
officers. 

In order to ensure continuity throughout the various 
situations, the plans recommended by one officer should be 
followed throughout. The officers who proposed other 
plans must drop their own ideas when commencing to 
study the next situation, and accept the plan put forward 
in the last situation by the officer, usually the senior, 
selected. If considered desirable, the plan finally proposed 
by the director at the close of each situation can be adopted 
as the working basis for the next situation. The director 



TACTICAL EXERCISES -THE DEFENCE 437 

before giving his own plan to the world has had the advan- 
tage of studying, discussing, and criticising the suggestions 
put forward by all the officers, so that, even if the original 
plan he had in his mind is open to criticism, the plan 
which he discloses at the end of the conference will prob- 
ably be the best. 



CHAPTER XIX 
TACTICAL EXERCISES ON THE GROUND— (cow/«m/^rf) 

A. Exercises for Cavalry Officers only. 

B. Exercises for Artillery Officers only. 

Cavalry move so rapidly and the situations change so 
frequently that though the general principles of conduct- 
ing these exercises are the same as already described, there 
are certain modifications which it is advisable to bring to 
notice. 

In the case of combined operations we found that an 
infantry division was the largest force that could be em- 
ployed for the purposes of the exercise. When practising 
the operations of cavalry alone it is probable that the size 
of the force should be limited to a brigade, with a battery 
of horse artillery. This is necessary partly because large 
bodies of cavalry manoeuvre over such wide areas, but 
chiefly because the greater part of the ground where each 
situation is to be worked out must be under the view of 
the officers. 

The ground chosen for the exercise should be suitable 
for the action of cavalry. In close country the whole 
brigade could not act together, even ihe regiments would 
be split up, and it would be better, in such ground, to 
practise the operations of a regiment or even a squadron. 
Open undulating country, with a certain number of tactical 
localities, where dismounted fire could be usefully em- 
ployed, is the type of ground to select. 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— CAVALRY 439 

With such a large force as a brigade it is better to 
practise the action of cavalry against its own arm rather 
than against infantry. The only occasion when a cavalry 
brigade in one body could operate against infantry with 
any chance of success would be in some complicated situa- 
tion which it would be extremely difficult to produce in a 
scheme. Everything would depend on the moral of the 
infantry, the manner in which they were surprised, the 
exact position they occupied on the ground, and the losses 
suffered by the cavalry. These things can be practised to 
a limited extent at manoeuvres, but they are out of place 
in a tactical exercise on the ground, where there are no 
troops to assist the imagination of the officers. 

It is, however, quite easy to practise any administrative 
or tactical situation which requires a decision before the 
squadrons move. The director standing on the ground 
with the officers can produce situations which involve the 
rapid study of the ground in front, and equally rapid 
decisions ; in fact, during a purely cavalry Staff Ride 
most of the work on the ground would consist of exercises 
of this nature. 

The following suggestions may be of use to indicate one 
method of conducting the operation. The general situa- 
tion would have been known and the orders prepared the 
previous evening. These orders should be taken on to 
the ground, so that any mistake may be indicated during 
the progress of the exercise. The situations which would 
have to be dealt with by a cavalry brigade would arise 
after a good deal of work had been done by the scouts and 
by the advanced squadrons. 

As an example we will take the situation on the Blue 
side on the morning of 16th, in the scheme worked out in 
Chapter V., and make one or two alterations so that the 
whole of the cavalry brigade can be employed (see Sketch 
No. 1). 



440 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The 18th Blue division is at Cashel, with outposts to 
the south. The 45th brigade is expected to arrive at 
Cashel from Holycross at 12 noon, when the whole force 
will advance on Caher. We will suppose that no regiment 
was detached to Rosegreen, but that the whole of the 
9th cavalry brigade i*eaches Cashel from Ballagh at 8 a.m., 
and that it has attached to it one battery of horse 
artillery, one section ammunition column, one field troop 
of engineers, one cavalry field ambulance, and one com- 
pany cavalry division transport and supply column. We 
will imagine further that the ground between Cashel and 
Caher is suitable for the action of a cavalry brigade 
manoeuvring in one body. 

On an ordinary Staff* Ride the following details would 
have been worked out the previous evening, and all officers 
would be acquainted with them : 

(a) The general situation would Have been described in 
the narrative which was issued the previous evening. 

(6) The orders issued to the G.O.C. 9th cavalry brigade 
by the General commanding the Blue detached force. 

(c) The orders issued by the G.O.C. 9th cavalry brigade 
for the operations on 16th. 

We already know the general situation, and therefore 
it will only be necessary to invent the orders mentioned in 
(6) so as to get a working basis for explaining the exercise. 
We will suppose that these orders are of the following 
nature : 

The cavalry brigade is not required to cover the front 
of the 18th division as it marches south from Cashel, but 
it is to prevent the enemy's cavalry from interfering with 
the eastern flank of the advance. It is to endeavour to 
discover the movements of the enemy's main body, espe- 
cially if he is retreating through Caher, or is occupynig 
a position north of that town. The infantry outposts to 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— CAVALRY 441 

the south of Cashel are holding the line , , 

; they frequently see hostile cavalry patrols ; they 



have obtained no information regarding the enemy's 
strength or movements, except that early this morning a 
man belonging to the 26th Red hussars was shot close to 
the centre of the outpost line, and a patrol belonging to 
the 30th hussars was captured by the divisional squadron 
on the extreme left of the outpost line. The outposts have 
not been attacked. 

It is unnecessary to invent Ihe orders issued by the 
G.O.C. 9th cavalry brigade, but on these orders the 
director would prepare the first situation, and the officers 
would have been ordered to meet him at some place in rear 
of the ground where the exercise was to be worked out. 

It is very desirable on a cavalry Staff Ride that the 
officers should be mounted. Each situation can be dealt 
with rapidly, and then it is necessary to get on to fresh 
ground for the next problem. In open country some dis- 
tance must be covered to reach this ground, and, if the 
officers are on foot, the number of situations which can be 
dealt with will be small. If, however, motors are avail- 
able to take the officers from one locality to another, the 
horses can be dispensed with. 

Before issuing the first situation the orders prepared by 
the G.O.C. for the advance from Cashel should be dis- 
cussed. The number of squadrons sent forward, the 
roads, tracks, or direction selected for each, the patrols 
that were ordered to be sent out, the line of advance of 
the main body, the position of the various administrative 
units attached to the brigade, their security, the method 
of communication with the advanced squadrons and 
with the main body, would all require consideration. TTie 
first situation could then be issued. 



442 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Tactical Exercise on the Ground. 
The Action of a Cavalry Brigade. 

1. The first paragraph would give the exact position of 
each of the advanced squadrons and of the main body. This 
would be obtained from the cavalry brigade orders, coupled 
with the director's knowledge of what the enemy was doing. 

2. This paragraph would contain a summary of the 
information received from patrols and from the advanced 
squadrons, and might be of the following nature : 

By the time the headquarters of the brigade reaches 
A, the following reports have been received. The 
squadron on the Cashel-Newinn road has been stopped 
about B by rifle-fire from C and D, and has also been 
fired on by artillery from the direction of C. All detach- 
ments east of the above road have been stopped on the 
line E, F, G, except the squadron on the Rosegreen- 
Clerahan road, which has driven a hostile troop from the 
latter village, and is now holding it. 

3. As G.O.C. cavalry brigade, state what you propose 
to do. Officers can reconnoitre ground anywhere within 
the area occupied by their own troops. They will meet 
the director at H in half an hour. 



The ab.)ve may result in two different plans of action. 
The G.O.C. cavalry brigade may reinforce one of his 
advanced squadrons, and endeavour to discover further 
information before he uses the greater part of his brigade, 
or he may decide to concentrate at once and endeavour to 
drive back the enemy's troops at one point with the 
greater part of his brigade. If he decides upon the first 
course the director must issue another situation giving the 
result of the suggested operation. It would be interesting 
to work out this situation on the ground, but, as we are 



TACTICAL EXERCISES-CAVALRY +13 

dealing heie with the tiictical operations of a complete 
cavaliy brigade, we will describe the method of conducting 
these minor situations lat^. 

In these dreumstances the second situation would 
describe what had occurred, and what further information 
had been obtained. 

As an example we will suppose that the G.O.C. cavalry 
brigade has decided to reinforce the squadron at Clerahan 
with another squadron, and that these two squadrons have 
been unable to gain aAy ground to the south-west, but 
that one troop has reached Clerahan, where it was stopped 
by hostile cavalry. The remainder of the advanctxl 
squadrons have been unable to advance farther, and 
appear to be engaged with slightly superior hostile 
troops, but they have not been driven hack. On the 
other hand, the cavalr}' commander may desire to waste 
no time, and decides to concentrate and attack before the 
enemy has time to concentrate. In this case the inter- 
mediate situation given above would be unnecessar}\ In 
either case we shall aiTive at a decision on the part of the 
cavalry commander to concentrate the gi-eater part of his 
force, and the discussion will bring out some of the 
following points. 

The first and most important will be the loi»ality 
selected for the concentration of the greater part of the 
brigade. This will be decided by a consideration of the 
orders received, of the general situation, and of the rcsist- 
ance so far met with, and also by a careful study of the 
ground in front. The ordei*s and the general situation 
appear to demand successful action towards the east 
rather than towards the west, and the resistance oflferiHl 
also appeal's to facilitate action in this direction. The 
question of the ground can only be decided on the spot, 
but if there -is any dominating tactical point in the neigh- 
bourhood, the possession of which is important either for 



444 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

hoi'se artillery action, for purposes of view to the south, or 
to facilitate attack, it is possible that the ground may 
overrule the other considerations. 

Further points for discussion will be the number of 
squadrons that are to be left watching the enemy ; any 
fresh patrols which it is considered necessary to send out ; 
the time that will be taken to call in any squadrons ; the 
suitability of the original arrangements made for the 
advance with I'egard to breaking up of regiments, and 
the number of complete regiments which will be available 
to act when the brigade is concentrated ; the present posi- 
tion and security of the administrative units attached to 
the squadron ; whether the horses have been watei*ed and 
fed since starting from Ballagh in the early morning; 
and finally, the direction chosen for the advance of the 
cavalry brigade. Having discussed these matters, the 
director, adhering to the line of advance selected by the 
cavalry commander, can take the officers forward to the 
place where the cavalry brigade would encounter the 
enemy. He can then dictate the situation. It is impos- 
sible to prepare this situation beforehand, because every- 
thing will depend upon what the cavalry commander has 
decided to do. The situation, however, will be of the 
following nature : 

Second (or Thi/rd) Situation. 

1. The enemy are holding the hill at K and the wood 
at L with dismounted troops. A patrol to the east of L 
has just returned and reports that about a regiment of 
cavalry was moving east behind K ten minutes ago. No 
artillery is in action. 

2. As officer commanding the cavaliy brigade, state what 
you propose to do. 

When preparing this situation the director would know 



TACTICAL EXERCISES -CAVALRY 445 

what the enemy would be likely to have done during the 
previous operations, because he would know the original 
distribution of the Red cavalry and the intentions of the 
commander. The director must invent the rest, and will 
endeavour to produce on the ground an interesting cavalry 
situation. One or two important tactical points can be 
held by the enemy, but not so many as to preclude cavalry 
ax;tion on the part of the Blue brigade. If desired, one of 
these tactical points may be of such importance that it is 
necessary to capture it by dismounted action supported by 
horse artillery fire before cavalry action against Red is 
feasible. 

The Blue cavalry commander would have to select the 
tactical points it would be necessary for him to hold to 
secure his own flank or rear ; he would consider how his 
horse artillery could be employed ; whether by some ruse 
the enemy's cavalry could be induced to move forward 
over ground where they might be surprised and attacked, 
or whether his own brigade could move forward to a more 
favourable position for cavalry action without being seen 
by the enemy. 

The object of the exercise is to teach officers to study 
ground from the cavalry point of view, and a tactical 
situation should be produced which lends itself to such 
study. The instruction imparted depends entirely upon 
the officer who conducts the exercise. If he is possessed of 
a certain amount of imagination, he can introduce interest- 
ing problems in the way of defence, attack, rallying, 
retreat, &c. For example, in the above scheme the Red 
cavahy can be driven back in the fii-st instance, and then 
they can be reinforced. The Blue cavalry, having con- 
centrated first, should be in possession of the best gi'ound, 
and therefore in a good position to again attack, and 
especially to take on any hostile artillery that may appear. 

It is necessary to emphasise the fact that the actual 



446 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

execution of any orders cannot be practised, except that 
sometimes officers might be directed to ride forward and 
show how they would lead the brigade, taking advantage 
of the ground which was covered from view by the enemy. 
These exercises enable officers to practise, so to speak, " by 
numbers'' what they have to do in a flash and at full 
gallop in wan 

When the tactical exercise involves the action of such a 
large force as a ca,valry brigade, one or two horse artillery 
officers should take pai*t in the work. 

The director, when considering the action of the horse 
artillery, will find ample subjects for discussion in the 
application of the principles for the employment of that 
arm described in the official Training Manual. 

Rapidity in the selection of an artillery position whence 
the enemy's troops can be brought under fire for as long a 
period as possible, before being masked by the cavalry 
attack ; the position of the guns in the line of march ; the 
relative position of the cavalry and the guns, and the 
safety of the latter whilst the attack is being delivered ; 
the possibility of enfilading the hostile cavalry when it 
moves to meet the cavalry attack ; the rapid grasp of the 
important features of the ground by the horse artillery 
officers ; the supply of ammunition and the security of the 
waggons in second line ; these and other points of a similar 
nature can be discussed with great advantage on the ground. 

Minor situations, involving the action of one or two 
squadrons only, are much easier to produce, and probably 
more instructive, than a scheme embracing the operations 
of a complete cavalry brigade. Situations where one 
squadron is opposed to a hostile force are so numerous and 
so easily understood that it is hardly necessary to refer to 
them. Briefly they may arise in open country when the 
squadron, after driving back the enemy's patrols, encounters 
a formed body in rear ; here everything depends on the 



TACTICAL EXERCISES -CAVALRY 44-7 

advantage of ground. In closer country the squadron may 
be confined to a great extent to the roads, and then the 
means of turning the flank of any troops in front and at 
the same time covering his own line of retreat will probably 
be the chief aim of the squadron commander. In very 
close country, where the movement of mounted men is 
confined entirely to the roads, there will be a greal deal of 
dismounted action ; in this case the method of conducting 
the exercise will be very similar to that explained in the 
smaller operations in Chapter XVIIL, care being taken 
that the led horses are carefully concealed and at the same 
time are available at short notice if recjuired. The action 
of a squadron at a defile is always instructive, especially 
at a bridge over a small river. In such a situation the 
squadron commander would probably engage the enemy in 
front with dismounted action, making as great a display 
as possible, and endeavour to discover a means of crossing 
the river elsewhere and turning the enemy's flank. 

In all these exercises the supply of ammunition, the care 
of the wounded, the feeding and watering of the horses, 
and the avoidance of all unnecessary fatigue to the latter 
are of great importance. The officers should also be prac- 
tised in writing messages explaining the situation and 
describing the tactical details of the ground they have 
traversed. Both at manoeuvres and in war cavalry officers 
are apt to become so absorbed in the actual fighting and 
the details of patrolling and receiving messages that they 
forget to pass on the information to the higher com- 
manders in rear. 

In nine cases out of ten the cavalry are required above 
everything else to discover where the enemy is and where 
he is not. They frequently report where he is, but do not 
always report where the ground is clear, and the latter 
information is as important as the former. 

Even for the smallest exercise, wheri* only one squadron 



448 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

is employed, the strategical situation and the task imposed 
on the whole of the cavalry should be clearly described in 
the scheme, if it is not already known to the officers. 
When to dismount and when to charge; what tactical 
point in front should be captured in preference to any 
other ; what road should be selected when there is a choice 
of two ; would it be better to advance to the right of the 
hill in front, to the left, or straight over it. How should 
a village be approached, and when some point has been 
gained in accordance with orders, how it should be defended 
till reinforcements arrive, and what outposts are necessary 
to give warning of attack. These and many other ques- 
tions of a similar nature can be worked out during a 
tactical exercise on the ground. 

B. Tactical Exercises for Artillery only. 

Though it is generally desirable to carry out tactical 
exercises with artillery and infantry officers working to- 
gether, some useful instruction has been imparted by 
working with artillery officers alone. The situations are 
taken from any period of an engagement, when the infantry 
are supposed to be forming part of an advanced or rear 
guard, an attack, defence, &c. These exercises are not very 
suitable for a Staff Ride, because on such occasions it is 
desirable to get the infantry and artillery officers to work 
together, but they would form the chief basis of instruc- 
tion during an artillery Regimental Tour. 

For each exercise there must be some definite scheme of 
infantry action involving artillery assistance and conse- 
quently the solution of an artillery problem. The various 
situations are easy to produce, and can be taken from any 
of those suggested in Chapter XVIII. It is as well to 
commence from the time of the first contact of the infantry 
with the enemy's troops, and to confine the exercise to 
about two situations, because these, if properly worked out, 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— ARTILLERY 449 

will afford sufficient employment for one day. During a 
tactical exercise on an ordinary Staff Ride, there is not 
sufficient time available to thoroughly thrash out an 
artillery problem, because every artillery position cannot 
be reconnoitred beforehand or examined after it has been 
decided upon. 

The exercise would commence with a study of the 
general situation if it was not already known, and of the 
orders that had been issued to the artillery connnander. 
Any ambiguities in the situation or the orders would be 
brought to light in the discussion, and then the first situa- 
tion would be issued. For the sake of brevity we will 
suppose that the first situation is the same as the third, 
described on p. 401, Chapter XVIIL where one brigade 
of field artillery is required to support the attack of the 
advanced guard on a position occupied by what may be 
anticipated are the enemy's advanced troops. It would 
be necessary to add to this situation the verbal orders 
given to the artillery commander by the General com- 
manding the advanced guard. In a situation of this 
nature time is of great importance, because the enemy ^s 
advanced troops may be reinforced very rapidly, especially 
if he is advancing, so that no system of artillery support 
involving a lengthy study of ground would be possible. A 
good deal would depend on the position of the brigade in 
the column of march, and the place it could reach quickest 
to afford immediate support to the infantry attack. 
Questions would arise as to whether the whole of the 
artillery could be usefully employed ; whether concealed 
or direct positions should be occupied ; whether the brigade 
should come into action concentrated or with the batteries 
dispersed, if the latter the means of communication between 
the brigade commander and the batteries ; whether it would 
be worth while to lay the telephone ; and more technical 
details regarding the system of observing, ranging, etc. 

2 F 



450 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Other points to consider would be how far the scheme 
of artillery co-operation would be suitable to support the 
main infantry attack decided upon by the advanced 
guard commander ; whether the artillery commander should 
wait till the advanced guard commander has reconnoitred 
and made up his mind what to do before executing any 
reconnaissance himself, whether the two reconnaissances 
can proceed independently, or whether the artillery com- 
mander should accompany the advanced guard commander ; 
whether the battery commanders can be doing anything 
meanwhile, and what orders should be given to the 
ammunition column. Most of these problems can be 
quickly decided on the ground, but they are all worth 
consideration, because their correct solution ensures the 
close, rapid, and highly effective support of the artillery 
during the infantry attack. Having discussed these points, 
the director should take the officers to each position 
selected and decide whether it is suitable for the require- 
ments of the ease ; whether the batteries or the observing 
stations are unduly exposed, whether alternative positions 
exist which might, with advantage, have been selected ; 
whether suitable localities can be found for the teams 
and first line of waggons, whether the positions selected 
can be reached without exposure to hostile artillery or 
infantry fire and view, and whether the batteries in action 
will require an infantry escort or not. 

Having completed the first situation, the officers could 
move forward to the ground occupied by the enemy, and 
the second situation could be issued. This would be of a 
more complicated nature, would require a more accurate 
reconnaissance of the ground and a more careful study of 
the requirements of the case. The following is suggested 
as an example of what would be suitable. 



TACTICAL EXERCISES^ARTILLERY 451 

^nd Situation, 
Action of a Field Artillery Brigade (Q.F.), 

1. The hostile position indicated in the first situation 
was carried by two battalions of infantry supported by two 
batteries of field artillery, the casualities amounting to 49 
men. 

2. The advanced guard commander is of opinion that 
the enemy's main position is now visible, and extends eeist 
and west through A, B, and C. The eastern flank prob- 
ably rests about A, as the 9th cavalry brigade has occu- 
pied the ground about a mile north-east of that place. 
The western flank may be anywhere between C and the 
river Suir. 

3. The G.O.C. advanced guard has decided to occupy 
a defensive position facing south extending from E to 
F. Two battalions will be in front line and two in 
reserve. The two battalions in front line have been ordered 
to push forward outposts as close to the enemy's main posi- 
tion as possible, and, with the field company of engineers, 
to prepare the position for defence. 

4. The advanced guard is in touch with the 9th cavalry 
brigade on the east, and the divisional squadron has been 
sent to guard the right flank towards the Suir. It is con- 
sidered that the enemy is more likely to attack the western 
than the eastern flank of the position. 

5. The officer commanding the field artillery biigade is 
directed to select artillery positions in conformity with the 
above scheme of defence. 



This exercise would involve a careful study of the ground 
along the whole of the front of the position, the selection 
of several alternative positions for the batteries to occupy 
in case an attack came from the south, south-west, or south- 



452 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

east, and would necessitate the retention of power of move- 
ment on the part of the guns. 

The best manner of conducting the exercise would be 
for the director to take the officei's first to the western 
flank, study that, and then move along the line of defence 
very much in the same manner as suggested in Chapter 
XVIII. — E. The Defence. In this manner the various 
artillery positions could be selected, paying due attention 
to the line of infantry defence and to the possible direction 
of attack. Finally, a scheme of artillery co-operation 
which would best suit all requirements can be prepared 
and discussed, together with any changes that would 
become necessary if the enemy^s main attack was directed 
on the right centre or left of the position. 

In the same manner the action of a howitzer brigade 
or of a heavy battery can be worked out on the ground. 
The special purposes for which they are used in attack or 
defence would be thoroughly discussed, together with a 
consideration of when to use shrapnel and when to use 
high explosive shell, the suitability of the range, the class 
of target, etc. 

The scheme should include a description of the part to 
be taken by the quick-firing guns as well as by the infantry 
during the action, so that howitzers, heavy guns, quick- 
firing guns, and infantry may all be working together for 
the attainment of the object in view. 

During all artillery exercises on the ground technical 
questions involving changes of target in indirect positions 
can be thoroughly discussed. The director will provide 
the necessary situations, which should describe from time 
to time the action of the enemy and the requirements of 
the General commanding the force engaged. 

For these artillery exercises it is usual to take out the 
signallers, range takers, directors, field plotters, dial sights, 
and aiming posts, in order that the officer who is conducting 



TACTICAL EXERCISES— ARTILLERY 453 

the exercise can verify the lines of fire in indirect posi- 
tions. For this reason the exercises are usually held 
within a few miles of the headquarters of the brigade or 
battery ; but, in order to obtain a different type of 
ground, a very instructive exercise can be held without 
these accessories. 

All the exercises described in this chapter and in 
Chapter XVIII. are suitable for Regimental' Tours, either 
cavalry, artillery, or infantry. The method of preparing 
the schemes when required for this purpose is explained in 
Chapter XVII. — Regimental Tours. 



CHAPTER XX 

TWO EXAMPLES OF A "ONE DAY" EXERCISE, 
WORKED OUT NEAR THE QUARTERS OF THE 
OFFICERS WHO TOOK PART IN IT 

Very good instruction can be imparted by taking out a 
party of officers from their peace station for the day and 
working out a tactical exercise on the ground. 

When selecting the locality there are usually three 
requirements to be considered. First, the ground must 
be suitable for the purpose ; secondly, convenient trains 
should be available to take the officers close to the place 
where the exercise is to commence, and to bring them back 
in the evening ; and, thii*dly, the expenses of getting there 
and back should be reduced to a minimum. When no 
railways are available a brake can be hired for the day, 
and officei's can drive out and back. 

As in the case of a Regimental Tour, it is always desir- 
able to obtain the services of an officer of a different arm 
from that of the rest of the officers, and this can easily 
be done at most stations. 

One of these exercises is nothing more than a day cut out 
from a Regimental Tour. A scheme must be prepared and 
can be issued beforehand so that the officers may know the 
general situation before working out the details on the 
ground. At the conclusion of the work on the ground the 
director will collect the note-books containing the solu- 
tions of each situation by each party of officers, and will 
cTjtidse the work. He will hold a conference in the 

454 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 455 

evening, after dinner, usually in the officers' mess, when he 
will discuss any fresh matter that had arisen from his 
study of the work, and recapitulate the important points 
that had been discussed on the ground. This conference 
will usually occupy an hour or an hour and a half, and 
will terminate the exercise. 

The following examples of two tactical exercises of this 
nature which were actually held may be useful to explain 
more fully the general scope of the work and the method 
of conducting the exercise. In these examples the 
directory's criticisms and remarks, both on the ground and 
at the conference, are given after each situation. It will 
be found in practice that subsequent consideration and a 
study of the work handed in by the officers may involve 
some elaboration of the remarks made on the ground, or 
even some alteration in the decisions which have been 
given. These would form a subject for discussion at the 
evening conference. 

Officers do not always explain their intentions very fully 
during the discussions on the ground, and the director, in 
consequence, is apt to misunderstand their solution of the 
particular problem, and may be led into adverse criticism 
of a scheme which is really open to few objections. A 
study of the written work of the officer will disclose such 
an occurrence, and the director would then modify his 
original remarks during the evening conference. The 
director, like the officers under instruction, is only human, 
and thex'efore cannot be expected to be infallible, but if 
he considers his first decision is wrong he should say so, 
and thus increase the confidence that the officers have in 
his fair and open-minded criticisms. 

The object of the following exercises was to give officers 
an opportunity of studying the best means of instructing 
junior officers and non-commissioned officers in their duties 
in front of the enemy, especially as regards the great 



4>56 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 
influence of ground on the correct solution of any tactical 
problem. 

The half- inch map was used, in order to encourage officers 
to study the ground rather than the map. The maps 
which will be available for regimental officers in war 
will either be inaccurate or on a small scale, and will not 
be of much tactical value. It is essential therefore that 
officers and non- commissioned officers should have more 
practice in reading ground than in reading maps. 

The schemes were based on incidents which have occun^ed 
in modern war, the forces employed varying from two com- 
panies of infantry to about half a brigade, with a small 
force of cavalry and artillery attached. The object of 
selecting situations from real war was to increase the 
reality of the scheme, to avoid long explanations in the 
general and special ideas as to why these forces found 
themselves in the situations depicted, to eliminate any dis- 
cussion of great strategical problems, and to fix the minds 
of officers on the ground in front and on the solution of 
the tactical problem presented by the scheme. 

Though the schemes were taken from real examples in 
war, no attempt was made to reproduce the exact situation, 
or to find exactly similar ground. The officer command- 
ing a small force found himself in a certain situation, and 
he had to deal with it in what he considered to be the 
most suitable manner, without investigating too closely the 
strategy of the higher commander who had produced the 
situation. This strategy may not always have been the best, 
but in war we cannot always rely upon it being the best. 

We may expect, therefore, that similar mistakes may 
again be made, and that we shall find ourselves confronted 
by problems resembling those which have been dealt with 
by others in former wars. 

Before commencing the work each day, the director 
explained to the officers the object of these exercises, and 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 457 

gave a brief description of the campaign from which the 
scheme was taken, and of the movements of the opposing 
forces which led up to the problem about to be solved. 

Officers were given about an hour to study the ground 
and write down what they considered would be the best 
course 'of action to pursue. It is desirable that these 
solutions should always be written down, because it com- 
pels an officer to form a definite plan of action which c^n 
be commented upon afterwards. The work can be collected 
and studied in detail on return to quarters. At the end of 
the hour the officers assembled, and each officer described his 
own plan of operations. The director discussed and criticised 
the solutions put forward, and finally gave his own opinion 
as to what was correct. In the case of an advance to attack, 
the plan suggested by one of the officers was adopted, and 
the whole parly moved over the ground and discussed the 
method of advance, the distribution of the troops, and the 
system of security and communication. 

During the evening the director examined and wrote 
comments on the work done by each officer. A confer- 
ence was held at 9.30 p.m., when all the instructive points 
which had been raised during the day were discusssd, and 
the officers^ work was returned to them. 

In the following account the director's remarks, both on 
the ground and at the conference, are given after each 
situation. To avoid unnecessary repetition, a few general 
remarks which applied to nearly all the work done by the 
officers are inserted at the begiiming. 

General Remarks ox the Work done by the 

Officers. 

TTiere was a tendency to make wide turning movements 

with small forces. Such tactics are suited to the action 

of mounted troops, who possess great mobility, and who 

if they get into difficulties can rapidly retire, but are 



4^58 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

unsuited to the action of small bodies of infantry, espe- 
cially if working without the assistance of mounted scouts. 

Regimental officers should possess clear ideas on the diffe- 
rent applications of the principles of strategy and tactics. 

The aim of strategy is that the army should be 
manoeuvred into the most favourable position for attack- 
ing the enemy ; this usually implies that the enemy has 
been compelled to take up an unfavourable position. 

One of the ordinary and most effective methods of 
bringing this about is for the army to advance against the 
communications or flank of the enemy's army, or pin him 
down with his back to an obstacle which he cannot cross. 
Having produced this desirable situation, the next aim of 
the commander is to gain a tactical victory. This can 
only be done by attacking and defeating the enemy'^s 
army, and by killing, wounding, and capturing his soldiers, 
thus brcaking down his power of resistance. 

When two large forces are opposed to each other, it is 
quite feasible to occupy the enemy's attention in one 
place, and make a wide turning movement involving a 
march of many miles with the remainder, provided always 
that the enemy is not given sufficient time first to discover 
the movement before it is too late, and secondly to attack 
and crush the containing force before the turning move- 
ment is developed. It should, however, be remembered 
that great commanders da not undertake this turning 
movement with the single object of gaining possession of 
the ground occupied by the enemy, and driving him back 
from it, but rather with the intention of attacking him 
where he is and defeating his troops. 

'^ITiis principle applies equally to the action of small 
detachments. If the enemy is in front of us, and our task 
is to drive him back, we should consider the best means of 
attacking him rather than endeavoiu-ing to mancpuvre him 
out of his position. 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 4o9 

It was noticed during these exercises that directly the 
advance was checked the officei*s frequently appeaixnl to 
make up their minds that the ground in front was strongly 
held, that the greatest caution was nec*essary, and that a 
wide turning movement with its acc*ompanying dispemon 
was preferable to an attack on the hostile troops in fwnt. 
In each of these exercises the fii'st situation indicatwl that 
so far no I'esistance had been met. This being the case, it 
was extremely unlikely that the hostile tixK>ps in fn)nt 
could be anything more than a weak outpost, ivady to fall 
back if attacked seriously. Any wide turning movement 
against such an outpost would mean a dangerous approach 
with a small force to the enemy's main bcxly, which would 
be behind the outpost. Every coimuander in modern war 
protects his front, first with cavalry, then with infantry 
outposts. If the cavalry is driven back, the next opposition 
is likely to be presented by small bodies of infantry, and 
it is not till they are driven back that the advancing troops 
need observe extreme precaution in the attack. 

With small forces a wide turning movement is more 
dangerous now than it was twenty years ago. The 
defender with his long-range rifle can usually prevent any 
movement across and close to his front. If therefore a 
commander with only one battalion at his disposal decides 
to make a turning movement, he must go a long way 
round. If he uses the whole of his force for the purpose, 
he will probably uncover his own line of retreat, and if he 
decides to divide his force, and send part of it a long way 
round to gain the enemy's flauk, he risks defeat in detail. 
Whilst this manoeuvre is being executed the enemy is not 
likely to be doing nothing, and he may concentrate sui)erior 
force against one portion of the attacking force before the 
other can do anything to assist it. A combined frontal 
and flank attack is just as effective with small forces as 
with large ones, provided no great disi>ersion of the 



460 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

troops is involved; but with small forces it should be made 
with the definite object of attacking and defeating the 
enemy's troops in front, and not with the object of 
manoeuvring him out of his position without fighting, 
unless in exceptional circumstances. 

If we accept the truth of these statements, we can act 
bpldy and with vigour against the first detachments of 
the enemy that we meet, and later on, when they are 
driven back, we must observe greater caution. 

Tactical Exekcise No. 1. 
General Idea (see Sketch No. 522). 

1. The situation is taken from the action at Podol 
(Calstock), on the Iser (Tamar), between the Prussians 
(Blue) and the Austrians (Red), on the evening and night 
of June 26, 1866. 

2. The Blue army is advancing from the north-east, 
and, owing to Dartmoor (the Bohemian mountains), is 
only able to use two roads, one leading through Oke- 
hampton, and then branching to Launceston (Munclien- 
gratz) and Tavistock (Mohelnitz), and the other from 
Moreton Hampstead through Two Bridges and Yelveiton 
station towards Saltash (Turnau). 

3. The Red army has detached about an army corps to 
defend the line of the Tamar (Iser). The main portion of 
this force is believed to be south of Launceston. 

Special Idea, Blue. 

1. The IVth division and 4th cavalry brigade, followed 
by the Vth division, have been advancing along the Two 
Bridges-Saltash road, driving back Red cavalry. At 1 p.m. 
the IVth division reached Beer Town and bivouacked thei-e. 

2. The Vth division and 4th cavalry brigade pushed on 
to St. Budeaux, found the Saltash bridge destroyed, threw 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 46l 

a pontoon bridge across the Tamar, and occupied the high 
ground beyond with outposts. The enemy retired towai'ds 
Launceston. The Tamar at Saltash is supposed to be 60 
yards wide ; it is not tidal, though the current is very stix>ng. 

3. The remainder of the left wing of the army is spread 
out on the road between Moreton Hampstead and Two 
Bridges. The advanced troops of the right wing drove 
the enemy from Bridestowe and bivouacked there; the 
remainder are spread out on the road between Bridestowe, 
Okehampton, and North Tawton. 

4. At ti P.M. the General officer commanding IVth division 
was ordered to seize the bridge at Galstock. Two com- 
panies were sent to hold this bridge for the night, and two 
companies to occupy the high ground just east of Beer 
Alston. 

5. We shall carry out the task given to the two com- 
panies sent to Cal stock. 



Sitnatwn No, L 



1. Your two companies followed the two companies sent 
to the high ground east of Beer Alston, as far as the 
branch roads \ mile S.E. of Beer Alston ; you then ad- 
vanced on Beer Alston, the other two companies continu- 
ing northwards. The enemy has not yet been met. 

2. Write the orders that you would give verbally for 
your advance on Calstock. 

3. In accordance with the above orders, your leading 
men reach the road bridge over the railway just south-west 
of Beer Alston station at 3 p.m. No enemy has been met 
so far, and the officer commanding the two companies 
advancing towards Gawton has just sent word to say that he 
has driven back a few Red scouts, and is occupying hill 500. 

4. Describe the exact distribution of your companies at 
that hour. 



462 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The officers met the director at Beer Alston station at 
9.15 A.M., when the above sdieme was issued. 

The officers were divided into parties of two, and were 
directed to meet the director at the road bridge over the 
railway at 9.45 a.m. 

The director gave a brief account of the operations 
which led up to the outpost affisiir at Podol in 1866, 
which it is unnecessary to enter into here. The fact that 
the Prussian companies in 1866 were stronger than our 
companies was not taken into account. It was assumed 
that each company was at British war strength. 

When the officers were assembled the director first 
dealt with the orders that were issued for the advance on 
Calstock. 

Some officers wrote stereotyped operation orders which 
appeared to be out of place for such a small force as two 
companies. 

All the officers took adequate precaution to protect 
their front during the advance, some officers throwing out 
a regular advanced guard. 

With such a small force as two companies, which can 
deploy for action in a few minutes, the advanced guard 
would consist of little more than a few scouts, who would 
be sent forward some half a mile in front of the com- 
panies to make good any ground from which the enemy 
might open fire on the company advancing in close order. 
In more open country this distance must necessarily be 
somewhat increased. 

Arrangements were made by some officers for maintain- 
ing communication by signal with the two companies sent 
towards Gawton. 

It would be instructive for officers to discuss what 
transport, if any, it would be necessary to send with 
these companies, and whether it would be desirable to 
send a machine gun. Probably sufficient blankets and 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 463 

food could be obtained on payment from the inhabitants 
of the villages ; the question of cooking the food would 
also require consideration, the companies having been 
sent off before the regimental transport would have 
arrived. 

The exact distribution of the companies was asked for 
chiefly to obtain a starting-point for the subsequent opera- 
tions, so that time and place should be duly considered. 
The majority of the officers had either a section or a half 
company covered by scouts on the road about a quarter 
of a mile east of the bridge, with the remainder half a 
mile in rear of it. This seemed to be a suitable arrange- 
ment. 

Situation No. IL 

1. Shortly after crossing the bridge over the railway, your 
advanced troops are fired at from the hill with a clump 
of trees on it, half a mile south south-west of Calstock. 

2. State briefly how you will attack this hill. 



The officers were directed to reconnoitre the ground to 
the front, but were not to go beyond the crest of the little 
spur 600 yards north-west of the bridge over the railway. 
They were given an hour to decide upon their plan of 
attack, and were directed to meet the director in the field, 
just north-west of the bridge, whence a fair view could be 
obtained of the hill occupied by the enemy. 

Discussion on the Second Situation, 

As already noted in the general remarks, some officers 
showed a tendency to manoeuvre the enemy out of his 
position, rather than attack him. Th^ following plans 
were suggested by various officers ; 



464 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

(a) To attack the enemy on his front and eastern 
flank. 

(ft) To attack the enemy on his front and western 
flank. 

(c) To attack the enemy on one flank only. 

(d) To attack the enemy on his front only. 

(e) To make a wide turning movement round his 
eastern flank and endeavour to gain the bridge, which, it 
was argued, would cut his line of retreat. Some officers 
also left a small containing force on the spur north-west of 
the bridge over the railway whilst this operation was being 
carried out. 

There was one more alternative which no one suggested, 
though no doubt it would have occurred to an officer in 
real war, and that is the advisability of halting, or even 
retiring. 

This idea certainly occurred to the officer commanding 
the two companies of Prussians in 1866, chiefly, perhaps, 
because the importance of gaining and holding the bridge 
for the night was not sufficiently impressed upon him when 
he started. 

Before considering how far the nature of the ground 
would affect the choice of a line of attack, it is well for us 
to study for a moment the general situation, so that we 
may endeavour to gain some idea as to what the strength 
of the enemy in front of us is likely to be. 

We must remember that while we have been advancing 
across Dartmoor the enemy'^s troops, which were believed 
to be at Launceston, may have marched down to Cal- 
stock, and our two companies may be opposed by an army 
corps. This possibility would be perfectly apparent to an 
officer placed in this situation in real war, and he would 
feel somewhat lost wandering into such a possible hornefs 
nest. 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 465 

A careful study of the ground and the situation will, 
however, convince him that there is no hostile army corps 
on that small hill in front of him, because it is not big 
enough to hold a brigade. 

Secondly, if a brigade or even a battalion is there, it 
is certain that the enemy will have pushed forwanl out- 
posts beyond the road bridge over the railway, and no such 
outposts have been encountered. 

We may assume, therefore, with some confidence that 
either a small force is holding the hill with the object of 
denying it to us, and that other troops are holding the 
bridge below, much in the same way as we ourselves pro- 
posed to defend the bridge on the right bank of the river 
later on in the day. Or else that the enemy, like ourselves, 
has recognised the importance of the bridge, wants to 
use it next day, and is advancing to defend it. 

In the first case our best course of action will be to 
endeavour to drive the enemy from the hill as the first 
stepping-stone towards the capture of the bridge. 

In the second case, the sooner we attack the better, 
because if the enemy is advancing, his troops on the hill 
can be rapidly reinforced, and we shall have little chance 
later on of gaining our object. 

In any case we should hardly be justified in halting or 
retiring until we have made as strong an attack as possible 
against the hostile detachment on the hill, and have failed 
with some loss. 

We must always^ i*emember in war, that if, in such cir- 
cumstances as these, we attack and fail, or if we retire with 
little fighting and without good reason, we can haixlly 
justify our action unless we have suffered some loss. 

From the above arguments two points appear to stand 
out clearly. Fii*st, an attack on the hill is not likely to 
be opposed by the enemy in superior force ; and second, 
that an immediate attack is necessary in order to obtain 

2g 



4^66 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMfcNTAL TOURS 

the best chance of success. We can now discuss the plan 
of attack. 

At the first glance it appears that a blow against 
the enemy ''s eastern flank is desirable, because it would 
threaten his line of retreat, whilst our own would be 
secured by the two companies on hill 500. Secondly, the 
right flank of our attack would be considerably protected 
by the river. Thirdly, owing to the nature of the ground, 
the initial stages of the attack could he made under cover, 
as there is a good deal of dead ground on this flank. 

A careful reconnaissance disclosed, however, some serious 
disadvantages. A study of the ground, or even of Sketch 
No. 22, will show that if the enemy holds the road south- 
east of the wood at " A,**** and also the south-west corner 
of the wood at " B,"' it will be difticult to make a successful 
attack from the direction of Beer Alston station. 

The enemy is very likely to hold these localities, because, 
owing to the enclosed nature of the country on his 
western flank with its high banks, the absence of roads, 
the proximity of the Tamar, and the deep railway cutting, 
he would consider that side fairly safe. Furthermore, as 
will be shown later, an attack on the cast side of the enemy ""s 
position does not really threaten his line of retreat. 

Some officers proposed to attack the wood at " B,""^ and 
advance straight through it towards the Tamar bridge, 
believing that such an operation would compel the enemy 
to retire from hill 300. We can compare this idea with our 
proposals later on in the day when we were defending the 
bridge on the right bank, and we shall see the objections, 
to such a method of advance. 

Experience teaches us that an attack through a wood is 
always a doubtful enterprise. Control is lost, the wood 
absorbs a large number of men who are easily checked by 
a few, and very little result is obtained ; straggling is greatly 
encouraged, and few but the bravest make much progress. 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISfeS 467 

Modern weapons have not made it any easier to attack 
through a wood : the long range is useless ; the quick 
loading rather favours the defenders in a wood ; the smoke- 
less powder is a disadvantage to the attack, because in 
former days the smoke used to hang about in a wood, and 
the attacking troops could advance under its cover and 
frequently surprise the defenders. 

If two companies had been thrown into this wood, with- 
out any attempt being made to drive the enemy from 
hill 300, and without any knowledge of the state of affairs 
at the bridge, it is quite possible that they might never 
have come out of it except as prisoners of war, especially 
as the Tamar was close to their right flank and their retreat 
might have been cut off. 

The physical difficulties on the enemy's western flank 
have already been referred to, and they appear to render 
an attack on that side undesirable, so we can now consider 
an attack from the south. 

Such a small hill as the one under consideration could 
easily be defended on any side, so that when our attack 
develops the enemy can meet it in front. With such a 
small force as two companies we must in this particular 
case make up our minds that we have got to make a frontal 
attack whatever line we choose. It appeared to the 
dii'ector that the weakest part of this small position, or 
perhaps it would be better to say the easiest part to attack, 
was on the south, sending forward one company on the east 
side of the main road from Beer Alston station to Calstock, 
and one company on the west side. A converging attack 
could thus be arranged against the small wood on the top 
of the hill. 

After considering the above points, the attack against 
the enemy'*s eastern flank, recommended by several of the 
officers, was followed on the ground. 

A concealed line of advance for the two companies into 



468 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

the valley north-west of Beer Alston station was selected. 
The action of the scouts and the method of deployment 
was discussed on the ground, and all necessary arrange- 
ments made for the attack on the woods at " A "' and " B/** 
After actually going over the ground the majority of the 
officers concluded that such an attack would be a difficult 
operation to conduct with any chance of success. 

Though there was a good deal of dead ground, the 
enemy had a clear field of fire towards the south-west 
from the wood " B,^ and even if the wood at " A "" and 
" B **' had been carried, a second attack must then be pre- 
pared against the small wood on the top of the hill. 

During the whole of this attack the enemy's line of 
retreat would not be seriously threatened, as was originally 
supposed by some of the officers. In fa(;t, a successful 
attack made right and left of the main road appeared to 
be the most rapid and effective method of capturing the 
Tamar bridge, which was the ultimate object of the 
detachment. 

The officers then went to the hill they had been attack- 
ing, and the third situation was issued. 



Third Situation, 

1. You have driven the enemy from the hill mentioned 
in situation No. 2, and he is retiring across the bridge at 
Calstock, closely followed by half a company in extended 
order. Your casualties are two men killed and seven 
wounded. 

2. The officer commanding the two companies on hill 
500 has sent one company to help you, and is holding the 
hill with the other company ; he reports that there is no 
enemy in front of him. 

3. One section of field artillery fiom the main body has 
iust arrived to reinforce your detachment. 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 4(>9 

4. Describe how you propose to captinv the bridge anci 
gain the high ground to the north of it. 



This was a pursuit, and if anything was to be eflfW'ted 
immediate action was essential. Any delay would mean 
that the enemy could re-form and defend the bridge, and 
its capture would then become a most difficult operation. 

This was thoroughly realised by the officers, and the 
majority suggested the following plan : 

The guns to gain a position on the northern slope of 
hill 300, whence they could fire direct on any of the 
enemy's infantry who halted to hold the right bank of the 
Tamar, and also on the enemy as they retreated across 
the bridge and up the hill to the north. 

The infantry were to press forward towards the river 
and, assisted by the guns, endeavour to keep the enemy 
on the run, giving him no time to halt and i*e-form. They 
were to occupy a covering position on the left bank and 
engage the enemy on the right bank, so as to enable a small 
detachment to cross by the bridge and secure a footing on 
the right bank. 

In the further advance up the hill north of Calstock 
the artillery from hill 300 would again be of great assist- 
ance, not only with their fire, but by observing the line of 
retreat of the enemy, any position they occupied, and 
signalling the information across to the infantry. 

The officers then proceeded to the church on the hill 
north of Calstock, and the fourth situation was issued. 



Fourth Situation, 

1. The high ground north of Calstock bridge has been 
captured by the Blue companies, with a loss of seven men 
killed and fifteen wounded, including the senior officer. 

2. You have assumed the command of all the four com- 
panies, including the one still holding the hill 500- 



470 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

8. It is now 6 p.m. and getting dark. The enemy 
appear to have retii*ed in a north-westerly direction. 
State what dispositions you will make in order to hold 
Calstock bridge for the night. 



The solution of this problem was facilitated by the bend 
in the river l^amar. If a line of defence could be estab- 
lished from the angle on the river north-east of the church 
to the angle at Inn south-west of the church, a front of 
about 1400 yards, the bridge would be sufficiently pro- 
tected. This fact was at once recognised by the officers, 
and they proceeded to reconnoitre the ground with a view 
to the selection of the best localities to defend. 

In such country, where the fields are small and enclosed 
by high banks, and the slopes steep, the enemy could 
not advance in force by night except by the roads. Of 
these there are three : one leading east along the top of 
the ridge towards the church, and the other two running 
close together and passing diagonally down the southern 
slope of the ridge, meeting near the bridge. 

The ground to the north of the church was, however, 
more open, and it would be quite possible for a hostile 
battalion to attack from that direction during the night. 
Fortunately, the railway line in course of construction 
offered a good defensive position facing north and com- 
manding this ground. 

Almost all the officers decided to establish an outpost 
line with three companies, one company occupying each 
road, and the fourth company with the guns defending 
the bridge from the left bank of the river. 

There is little doubt that the peculiar situation and the 
ground justified such a course of action, but the director 
was not certain that this was the best possible plan. 

Giving due weight to th^ assistance afforded by the bend 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 471 

in the river and to the difficult nature of the country, an 
outpost line of this nature cannot but be weak everywhere, 
and if one company is driven back at one point the other 
companies must also give way or be cut off. 

An essential point to consider is whether it is of greater 
importance to hold the bridge itself or the high gi'ound 
north of it. 

If the enemy are able to gain possession of the bridge 
during the night they may destroy it ; in that case a 
new bridge must be constructed before the army can cross. 
With our modern pontoon equipment a bridge could be 
thrown at this point in an hour or two, provided the high 
ground beyond was in our possession. One officer was of 
opinion that the pontoons could not be brought down to 
the river, but there appears to be a choice of roads in the 
neighbourhood {vide Sketch). 

If, however, the enemy gained possession of the high 
ground north of the bridge, it would be necessary to drive 
him off before a bridge could be constructed, and this 
would be a more lengthy operation than making the 
bridge. It appeared therefore to the director that it was 
most desirable to retain a hold on the high ground to the 
north of it, solely to deny its use to the enemy. 

The scheme suggested by the director differed but little 
from that adopted by most of the officers ; the important 
variation was that he decided to defend a post round the 
church. 

The line actually selected for the defence of this post 
extended along the railway line facing north from the 
church to the hollow road to the west ; it then faced west 
along: the east side of the hollow road, and ran southwards 
along a high bank for about 30 yards. It then faced south 
along the bank enclosing the field just south-west of the 
church. A line of defence facing east, just east of the 
church, was to be prepared later on if time permitttd. 



472 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The total perimeter of this post was about 600 yards. 
A garrison of two companies was considered sufficient to 
hold the post during the night and for long enough next 
day to allow of the main body reaching the high ground 
to the south. 

These two companies would furnish a picquet to the 
north and another to the west on the two roads leading in 
those directions. 

One company would defend the two roads leading down 
the side of the ridge, and the remaining company with the 
two guns would occupy the bridges on both banks, the 
guns being on the left bank with some of the infantry. 

The following special idea for Red was prepared before 
the exercise commenced, and formed the basis of the 
director's decisions during the day : 

Special Idea, Red. 

1. The Red force, which consists of four divisions and 
two cavalry brigades, is about Launceston. The Red 
commander intends to cross the Tamar at Saltash and 
Galstock to-morrow and attack the Blue columns emerging 
from the Dartmoor defiles. 

2. Preparatory to this move, one infantry brigade and 
one regiment of cavalry is despatched about midday to 
Occupy the high ground on the left bank of the Tamar 
near Calstock. 

3. The leading squadron of this force reaches the hill 
just south of Calstock when the Blue companies reach the 
road bridge over the railway, just south-west of Beer 
Alston station. The Red squadron occupies this hill and 
also the southern edges of woods A and B. 

4. Before the remainder of the Red regiment arrives 
the Red squadron is driven across the Calstock bridge, and 
retires^ to the high ground about the church, north of 



SIlSfGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 47S 

Calstock. A second Red squadron then comes up, but, 
owing chiefly to artillery fire from the hill south of 
Calstock, these two squadrons are unable to prevent the 
Blue infantry from capturing the hill north of Calstock. 

5. Just as it is getting dusk the Red brigade arrives 
from the north-west and attacks the Blue troops occupying 
the high ground north of Calstock. : 



Tactical Exercise No. II. 
General Idea (.m^ Sketch No. 23). 

1. The situation is taken from the action at McDowell 
(Menheniot) between the Federals (Blue) and the Con- 
federates (Red) on May 8, 186J^, with slightly smaller 
forces. 

2. The Red force is superior in numbers to Blue, and is 
advancing north through Hessenford, along a very bad 
road, with the object of attacking and driving back the 
Blue force, which is believed to be advancing south 
through St. Ives. 

Special Idea, Red. 

1. The Red force, owing to the bad road, is greatly strung 
out. The head of the advanced guard, which consists of 
one squadron of cavalry, two batteries of artillery, two 
battalions of infantry, and one field company of engineers, 
reaches the railway bridge at Inn (Menheniot station) at 

1 P.M. 

2. For the last hour the squadron in front has been 
driving back hostile patrols with little difficulty, but it is 
now reported that the high ground about Menheniot is 
held by the enemy in some strength. The Red squadron 
is holding the two bridges over the river Seaton, south of 
Menheniot. Patrols report that no enemy has been met 
as far north as Cartuther,on the right bank of the Seaton, 



474 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

but they are unable to advance north of the woods at, and 
west of, Coldrenick, on the left bank. 



First Situation, 

1. Describe the exact distribution of your advanced 
guard at 1 p.m., when the information contained in the 
special idea is received. 

% Write your orders for the attack on the high ground 
about Menheniot. 

The officers met the director at Menheniot station at 
10 A.M., and the above general and special ideas were 
issued. In order to lessen the labour of looking over the 
work, these officers were divided into parties of two, a 
senior officer working with a junior officer. 

The director first gave a brief description of the opera- 
tions which led up to the engagement at McDowell (see 
Sketch No. 11). 

Jackson (Red) was opposing Banks (Blue) in the 
southern part of the Shenandoah valley. Banks had 
reached Harrisonburg at the south end of the Massanutton 
mountains, and was within twenty-five miles of Staunton, 
whence Jackson drew his supplies. 

Jackson had taken up a flank position at Swift Uun Gap, 
facing west, but Banks's position facing south was too 
strong to attack. 

A Federal force (Blue) under Fremont was marching on 
Staunton by Franklin and McDowell, on the western side 
of the Shenandoah mountain. 

The Federal plan was that Fremont and Banks should 
advance, capture Staunton, and drive Jackson eastwards 
towards Richmond. 

Jackson was fully alive to the probability of this move, 
but wished to defeat one or other of the Fetleral detach- 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 475 

ments before they combined. He decided to loave a 
containing force under Ewell at Swift llun Gap, march 
across Banks^s front through Staunton, join Johnston, who 
with a small containing force was protecting Staunton on 
the west, drive back the leading troops of Fremont's force 
under Milroy, and then, with his supply depot at Staunton 
safe from any attack on the west, return and deal with 
Banks, who could no longer hope for any assistance from 
Fremont. 

AVe shall deal to-day with the situation which arose 
when the Red force (Jackson), advancing along the 
Hessenford-Menheniot road, encounters the advanced 
troops of the Blue force (Milroy) about Menheniot. 

The officers were told that they might reconnoitre the 
ground to the front, but that they could not go beyond 
the line held by their cavalry. They were ordered to 
meet the director at Menheniot station at 11.15 a.m. 



Di^ctissuyii 071 the Fhfit SituntUm {see Sketch No, 2*3). 

The officei's assembled at 11.30 a.m., and proceeded to 
the top of the railway embankment just north-west of 
Menheniot station, whence a good view of the spur 
running south from Menheniot could be obtained. It was 
raining heavily, and continued to do so throughout the 
day. 

llie director first pointed out to the officers the advan- 
tage of being able to get a good view of the ground they 
were about to attack, and to recognise any important 
tactical points the occupation of which would form a 
stepping-stone to a successful advance. I^iXamples of such 
points were the hill about Coldrenick an<l flic spur to I he 
north of it; the general line of the hedges, their weak 
points for defence, especially when they ran like a weilge 
towards the line of attack ; the possibility of bringing 



476 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 
covering fire to bear on the opposite hill from the railway 
embankment. 

The director discussed the desirability of keeping the 
force concentrated as long as possible, and of avoiding 
undue extensions, so as to be able to deliver one powerful 
blow with all available troops. 

Not to deploy more troops than were necessary during 
the first stages of the attack. 

To avoid any wide turning movements which would 
uncover the front of the main body in rear and cause dis- 
persion and weakness everywhere at a time when the enemy 
may also be advandingand preparing a concentrated attack 
on one part of our force. 

The Distributiox of the Advanced Guard 

The object of this part of the exercise was to study the 
most suitable system of distributing the troops in a small 
advanced guard in column of route — that is to say, the 
position of the cavalry, the ai*tillery, each company or 
battalion of infantry, and of the patrols and scouts ; also 
the distance between the various parts of the advanced 
guard. Another reason for working out these details was 
to start the operations from some fixed basis. 

Some of the officers placed one battalion in the van- 
guard, others half a battalion, and others two companies. 
AVhen advancing through such close country, where the 
enemy cannot move rapidly oft* the roads, it is probable 
that a small vanguard of only two companies would be 
sufficient. It is always desirable to reduce detachments 
as much as possible, and the main object of a vanguard is 
to make good any road or ground over which the remainder 
of the advanced guard is about to advance in close order. 
The squadron of cavalry, by patrolling the roads to the 
front and flanks, would give warning of approaching 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 477 

danger, and two companies would be sufficient stiffening 
for the cavalry if the enemy's advanced troops were 
encountered. 

Most of the officers placed the engineer company with 
the vanguard. This appeared to be right, especially as 
the scheme stated that the road was very bad, so that 
obstructions, especially at the crossings over the streams, 
might be removed at once. It was considered unnecessary 
for all the waggons containing the technical equipment of 
the engineer company to follow the vanguard, and as no 
wide streams had to be crossed, the pontoons might be left 
with the main body. It was considered that the two 
batteries should be placed between the two infantry 
battalions, and that the second line transport should not 
accompany the advanced guard. 

The distance of the vanguard from the main guard was 
discussed, and it was considered that this depended entirely 
upon the nature of the country, the ruling principles being 
that the cavalry, supported if necessaiy by the two com- 
panies of the vanguard and the engineer company, should 
make good all ground whence the enemy could bring fire 
to bear on the road which was to be followed by the rest 
of the advanced guard. 

The Orders for Aitack 

Some of the officers wrote out long and formal orders 
for attack, which hardly appeared necessary for such a 
small force. It is desirable during these exercises to do 
everything as it would be done in real war. In such a 
situation the commander of the advancetl guaixl would 
assemble the officers connnanding units and explain to 
them his plan of attack, and would then direct tliem to 
carry it out. 

The plans reconnnended by various officers can be divided 
into two categories : 



478 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL ToURS 

(a) To leave a containing force along the railway north 
of Inn, move up the right bank of the river Seaton with 
the remainder, cross at the bridge north of point 468, 
and attack Menheniot. 

(b) To leave a containing force as above, cross the Seaton 
east of the inn or at Pucklepit bridge, and attack TVien- 
heniot from the dii'ection of Coldrenick. 

No officer suggested what appeared to the director to be 
the best course : to attack direct along both sides of the 
road leading from the inn to Menheniot. 

The disadvantages of plan (a) appeared to be : 

1. That the front of the main body in rear was some- 
what uncovered, and the enemy might attack and turn the 
containing force on the east flank before our main attack 
had developed. Little was known about the situation on 
the left bank of the Seaton, except that the cavah-y were 
unable to penetrate beyond Coldrenick, but it was unlikely 
that the enemy would have any large force there, or we 
should have encountered his advanced troops before. 
Still it was quite possible that he could rapidly bring on to 
the ground as many troops as we could bring against him. 

2. That an attack from this direction necessitated the 
capture of a large round-shaped hill west of Menheniot, 
which would have caused a still wider turning movement 
and a further detachment to hold it whilst the attack was 
being made on Menheniot itself. 

3. Though a good ai-tillery position existed just noiiJi- 
west of point 468, there was no other safe position which 
could be occupied by the guns with the object of bringing 
converging fire to bear on the point of attack. 

The chief disadvantage of plan (6) was that after 
occupying Coldrenick Hill it would be necessary to attack 
across a deep valley and gain the spur to the noi-th, and 
then attack across another deep valley befoi-e the spur 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 479 

south of Menheniot could be gained. This would pro- 
bably be a somewhat lengthy operation, and it was 
desirable to attack the enemy as soon as possible, and 
drive back any hostile troops in front before they could 
be reinforced from the rear. 

At the same time an advance on this side covered the 
most important high ground, and enabled the attacking 
infantry to be closely supported by artillery fire from the 
hill north of point 468, and from Coldrenick Hill. 

It was suggested by one officer that the advanced guard 
might hold the position along the railway, thus blocking 
the enemy's advance, and there await the arrival of the 
main body. There is no doubt that this position is a 
fairly strong one, but it was considered that the following 
arguments rendered such a coui'se midesirable. 

It was unlikely that the enemy about Menheniot would 
be in great strength at the moment, because if so he would 
have pushed forward an advanced guard if advancing, or 
he would have established an outpost line if halted, 
whereas, so far, only hostile patrols had been met. 

If the enemy was advancing he would certainly be 
shortly reinforced, and therefore it was desirable to attack 
him at once, and gain all the moral and material advan- 
tage of a small victory at the commencement of the fight. 

To remain in the passive occupation of a defensive posi- 
tion would mean the loss of the initiative, and the possi- 
bility that a powerful advanced guard was being held up 
by a few dismounted troopers. 

The weather was so thick owing to the heavy rain, that 
from the position on the railway embankment it was im- 
possible to discover whether the ground about Menheniot 
was more suitable for occupation by the Red advanced 
guard than the railway line. It appeared, however, from 
the map that a good position facing north, and directly 
covering the advance of the main body, was to be found. 



480 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

It was decided therefore that an immediate attack was 
desirable. 

The director proposed the following plan for the attack 
on Menheniot. One battery to come into action north of 
point 468, where it would be sufficiently protected by the 
cavalry who were holding the bridge to the north and 
who were scouting towards Cartuther. One company of 
No. 1 battalion, which was leading, was sent uj) to occupy 
Coldrenick Hill and the neighbourhood, so that a battery 
could safely come into at^tion there. 

Note. — ^The action of this company would form a useful 
scheme for an hour or two. The officer commanding 
would require to know which road the battery was going 
to advance by, and would have to occupy any ground near 
the hill whence the enemy might develop infantry fire at 
eftiective range whilst the battery was coming into action. 
It is possible that more than one company would be re- 
quired for this duty. 

Another company of No. 1 battalion to be sent at the 
same time to occupy and hold the spur just north-west of 
Coldrenick. It was necessary to make good this spin* 
before the main attack could deploy across the bridge and 
advance up the spur south of Menheniot. The remainder 
of No. 1 battalion to be in general reserve in the valley 
by the railway bridge, ready to support the companies on 
the left bank of the river Seaton or the main attack. 

The bridges south of Menheniot being intact, it was 
proposed to send the engineer company to occupy, and 
prepare for defence, the north side of the railway embank- 
ment north of the inn ; this company could also support 
the main attack with fire, and would form a strong rally- 
ing point if the main attack was repulsed. 

These arrangements having been made. No. 2 battalion 
is directed to move down the hollow lane running north 
from the Inn, cross the bridge under cover of its scouts, and 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 481 

deploy for attack. This attack was then followed by the 
officers on the ground. One company was deployed west 
and one company east of the road, the road itself being 
given as the line of direction for the inner flank of each 
company. 

The following points were then discussed : The length 
of front each company should occupy when first deployed. 
The efficacy of the supporting fire from the engineers on 
the embankment. The method of communication between 
the two companies deployed for the attack. The action 
of the scouts in front, and method of signalling back in- 
formation. The best way of informing the artillery of 
the exact position of the hostile infantry. The enemy not 
having opened fire with artillery, the Red guns were able 
to devote their whole attention to the Blue infantry. 

The advance of the two companies was then considered 
in detail, especially the method of gaining ground from 
field to field over the high banks. The officers accom- 
panied the director up to Menheniot village, where the 
second situation was issued. 

Second Situation, 

1. You have just earned Menheniot village and have 
occupied the cross roads three-quarters of a mile to the 
north-east, also point 453 and the hill half a mile south- 
east of Roseland. The enemy has drawn off northwards, 
but hostile artillery have just opened fire for the first time 
from the direction of Pengover Green, and there is every 
indication that a serious attack is about to be made on 
your position. 

2. A battalion and another battery from the main body 
has just reached the bridge half a mile south of Menheniot 
village, but no more reinforcements are expected for two 
hours. 

2h 



482 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

3. State what dispositions you would make for holding 
the ground you have gained. 



The problem was not easy to solve : only three battalions 
were available, and the unusually large proportion of 
guns could not be put to the best use owing to the thick 
weather. 

Several schemes of defence were suggested by different 
officers, and they may be summarised in three classes. 

(a) To hold the line of the high ground facing north 
from the spur | mile north-east of Doddycross, through 
point 453, to the hill south-east of Roseland. 

(b) To neglect the hill south-east of Roselaijd and 
occupy the same line of defence as in (a), but with the 
right flank thrown back from the cross roads three-quarters 
of a mile north-east of Menheniot to Doddycross. 

(c) To hold the hill south-east of Roseland, and the 
high ground about point 463, the right flank resting on a 
bank about 200 yards south-west of the cross roads men- 
tioned in (b). 

There were serious objections to all these suggestions, 
.and with the limited view caused by the heavy rain it was 
difficult to arrive at sound conclusions. 

The defence of the hill south-east of Roseland, and of 
the gi'ound about point 453, was easy. There were strong 
banks facing north; with a good field of fire in such thick 
weather. The great difficulty was the defence of the right 
flank, especially of the ground about the cross roads north- 
east of Menheniot. It would be an interesting problem 
for officers to deal with on a clear day, when full use could 
be made of the lai'ge number of guns. 

As regards plan (a), the length of front is two miles, 
which with three battalions would give less than one man 
to the yard. On the other hand, the right flank on the 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 483 

spur north of Doddycross is protected by the river Tiddy, 
which, though not a serious obstacle, has no crossing between 
Hepwell bridge and Tilland, except a foot bridge half a 
mile south of the former. The line of retreat from this 
flank was bad. 

As regards plan (6), the weakness of the defence of the 
cross roads north-east of Menheniot was accentuated, and 
as the main road from St. Ives, by which the enemy was 
believed to be advancing, led straight to these cross roads, 
this was a very serious drawback. 

The advantage of plan (c) was that the force was con- 
centrated, and provided the attack came from the direction 
of Pengover Green, there is little doubt that the position 
could be held for two hours. The chief drawback was that 
if the enemy advanced along the direct road from St. Ives, 
fresh disposition must be made to meet him, or else the 
position would be turned. 

The director was at first in favour of plan (c), but after 
considering the above points, he thought it was necessary 
to hold the hill half a mile south of Hepwell bridge as an 
advanced post, and be prepared to reinforce it to some 
extent if necessary. 

Considering the state of the weather, and the small part 
that the artillery could take in the action, he recommended 
the following plan. 

To keep a large portion of the troops in reserve till it 
was apparent whether the enemy was attacking from the 
direction of Pengover Green or Hepwell Bridge. 

Meanwhile to direct the officer commanding No. 1 
battalion to occupy the hill south-east of Roseland with 
two companies, and the high gi'ound about point 453 with 
two more. The rest of the battalion to remain in reserve 
at the inn at Menheniot. The officer commanding No. 2 
battalion to occupy the hill J •mile south of Hepwell 
Bridge with two companies, and be prepared to reinforc*e 



484 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

them with two more companies if a serious attack developed 
on that side. The remainder of the battalion to remain in 
reserve at the cross roads f mile north-east of Menheniot. 
No. 3 battalion to be brought up in general reserve to the 
north side of Menheniot. 

The artillery commander to detach one section to the 
south-east side of the Roseland hill to bring flanking fire 
to bear on the ground north of point 453 ; the remainder 
of the battery to find a position west of point 453. One 
section of the second battery to be detached to the cross 
roads to assist in the defence of the eastern flank, and 
the remainder of the battery to find a position east of 
point 453. The third battery to be brought up to 
Menheniot, and remain in reserve till the direction of the 
enemy's main attack became apparent, the officer com- 
manding it to reconnoitre the ground so as to be pre- 
pared to assist the defence either on the right, left, or 
centre of the position. 

The engineer company to proceed to the cross roads 
f mile north-east of Menheniot, and assist in preparing that 
locality for defence, in the event of the advanced post on 
the hill J mile south of Hepwell bridge being driven back. 

The squadron to leave one troop to continue to watch 
the ground on the right bank of the river Seaton, and the 
remainder to hold Hepwell bridge as long as possible, and 
then to retire round the right flank. 



Third Situation. 

1. ITie Blue attack is repulsed after heavy fighting; the 
main body of the Red force is now coming up, and is about 
to bivouac in the valley south of Menheniot. 

2. The officer commanding the advanced guard is 
directed to establish outposts coveiing this bivouac for the 
night. Cavalry patrols report that Trevartha and Hep- 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 485 

well bridge are clear of the enemy, but they are stopped 
by hostile fire from Pengover Green. 

S. Describe the composition and distribution of your 
outposts for the night. 



There was not sufficient time to enable officers to carry 
out this scheme in detail and to visit the picquet line. In 
fact, this situation alone would form a good exercise for 
one morning's work. 

The director made the following remarks on the best 
manner of dealing with it : 

The outposts were required to give ample warning of 
any hostile advance during the night, or at dawn on the 
following day, so that the main body could occupy its 
fighting position without huiTy or confusion. This being 
the case, it was necessary to consider where that fighting 
position should be. There is no doubt that if the main 
body is called upon to fight near its bivouac it must occupy 
the position held by the advanced guard during the after- 
noon of October 2. 

If the outposts are placed in this position, they may be 
driven back before the main body has time to come up. 
It is essential, therefore, that the outposts must watch and 
defend a line farther north. 

In such country, where the fields are small and are 
enclosed by banks six feet high, it is quite out of the 
question for the enemy to advance during the night in 
large bodies except by the roads. 

If therefore we place outpost companies on the road, 
our bivouac should be secure for the night. 

The following dispositions are suggested : 

1. No. 1 outpost company facing east, half a mile east 
of Doddycross, with a picquet thrown forward towards 
Tilland. 



486 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

3. No. 2 outpost company at Hepwell bridge, with a 
picquet thrown forward on the St. Ives road. 

3. No. 3 outpost company at the branch roads half a 
mile north of point 453, with two picquets, one on the 
road to Pengover Green and the other on the road lead- 
ing north to St. Ives. We know that the outposts here 
will be in touch with the enemy, so we shall require a 
support in rear. 

4. No. 4 outpost company on the track a quarter of a 
mile south of Trevartha, with a picquet on the north side 
of Trevartha. 

5. No. 5 outpost company at the branch roads just 
north of Cartuther, with a picquet at the smithy. 

One company might be detached to the hill south of 
Hepwell bridge, as a support to No. 2 outpost company, 
which is guarding one of the enemy's main lines of approach. 

Two companies in reserve north of Menheniot. 

This disposes of one battalion, which should form 
sufficient protection for the night. 

There are several instructive points which require 
consideration by regimental officers. 

The method of communication between outpost com- 
panies. In country of this nature the roads and tracks must 
be used for the purpose, unless there is time to discover 
and mark a line of gates. A study of the roads and tracks 
along the front of the outpost line will disclose the fact 
that in this case there is no great difficulty. Rapid com- 
munication between the outpost companies and the 
reserve must also be arranged for, because it is unlikely 
that lamp signalling could be established in such inter- 
sected country. 

The amount of resistance which is to be offered by each 
outpost company. For example, the officer commanding 
No. 2 company might be told that he is to hold on to 



SINGLE TACTICAL EXERCISES 487 

Hepwell bridge till his position is untenable, and not till 
then should he fall back on the hill half a mile to the 
south, where reinforcements will be sent to him from the 
reserve. No. 3 company might be told that he is to hold 
the branch roads, where he will be reinforced if necessary. 
No. 4 company that if driven back he must retire to the 
hill half a mile south-east of Roseland, where he will meet 
supports. No. 5 company that he should retain possession 
of the branch roads long enough to give ample warning to 
the officer commanding outposts, and then if heavily 
attacked to retire on Roseland and hold the bridge south 
of that place, as the hill just east of him wiH be held to 
the last. 

In this way every one will know the general scheme 
of resistance, and what each outpost company is required 
to do. 

The question of feeding the men on outpost duty and 
bringing up their blankets for the night. This is a 
matter which requires forethought on the part of 
battalion commanders when first moving out of the 
bivouac on the morning of October 2. 

The following special idea for Blue was prepared before 
the exercise commenced, and was adhered to throughout : 

Special Idea, Blue. 

1. The Blue force is even more strung out than the Red 
force. 

2. When the Red advanced guard first approaches Men- 
heniot station the squadron with the Blue advanced guard 
has one troop at the bridge north of point 468, one troop 
at the bridge north of Menheniot station, and the re- 
mainder on the spur just north of Coldrenick. 

3. The officer commanding the Blue advanced guard 
having heard that a Red force was advancing through Hes- 
senford, and being anxious to gain the right bank of the 



488 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Tiddy without opposition, had crossed at a bridge 1 J mile 
above Hep well bridge. 

4. In the first situation the Blue vanguard, consisting of 
half a battalion of infantry, had just reached Menheniot, 
and occupied a position at the south edge of the village. 

5. In the second situation the whole of the Blue advanced 
guard, which is composed of two battalions of infantry, one 
battery of artillery, and one squadron of cavalry, attacks 
south from Pengover Green. 

6. The Blue main body does not commence to arrive at 
Pengover Green till the above attack is repulsed, and the 
Blue force bivouacs two miles north of Pengover Green, 
covered by outposts to the south. 



CHAPTER XXI 

WAR COURSES 

A FORM of instruction called a War Course has been trieti 
with some success, and is worthy of consideration. It 
somewhat resembles a Regimental Tour, but instead of 
being conducted by the commanding officer of the unit, it 
is usually under the direction of a brigade or divisional 
commander, assisted by officers of the GenenU Staff. 

The scope of these War Courses can be altennl to suit 
the rank of the officei-s who take part in them. The 
original idea was that a type of everything which either a 
battalion, a battery, or a squadron will be I'equii'ed to do 
in war should be practised on the ground, much in the 
same way as already suggested for Regimental Touix 
There is, however, one important diffei*ence lietween a 
Regimental Tour and a War Course : the fonner is in- 
tended to pruetise officers in the solution of tactical and 
administrative problems, the latter is intendeil to hisinui 
officers in the art of solving these problems. 

For this reason a lecture is given every morning at about 
9.30 A.M. on the subject which it is intended to discuss on 
the ground during the day. The officers are then taken 
out to suitable ground, and the director himsc^lf works 
out some tactical or administrative problem. He explains 
all the difficulties which arise in war, he brings foiward 
the principles contained in Combined 'JVainiiig and other 
official books which deal with the subject, and shows the 
officers how these principles can be applied in each case. 

489 



490 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

The officers look on, make suggestions, question the deci- 
sions of the director if they can think of something better 
themselves, and make copious notes on the various subjects 
which are discussed. 

In the evening a conference is held, when the director 
brings forward and discusses with the officers the most 
important points which have been raised on the ground or 
during the lecture in the morning. 

The officers who take part in the course are not over- 
burdened with work during the course — in fact, they have 
nothing to do except to listen, put forward suggestions, 
and, if they feel capable of doing so, try a passage of arms 
with the director when they do not agi*ee with him. The 
instruction imparted, however, seems to be very consider- 
able: officers have plenty of time to think about the 
various problems that are put before them ; they have 
plenty of time to study the ground, and, above all, the 
conversations amongst themselves are invaluable. 

As in the other exercises, officers of both infantry and 
artillery should take part in the course, and, if the director 
likes to vary the course and ask the officers to solve a few 
of the problems produced by the various situations, an 
artillery and infantry officer should work together. 

The work of the director is very hard — in fact, it is too 
much for one officer to conduct without assistance. The 
course is usually held by the divisional commander, and 
the work is divided up between him and his general staff 
officer. The latter would give the lecture in the morning, 
the divisional General and the staff officer would take 
turns at working out the various problems on the ground, 
and the former would hold the conference in the evenings 
If one officer attempts to do the whole of the work he 
will get so weary that the instruction will suffer greatly. 
Any form of teaching, if the subject is at all complicated, 
demands the expenditure of a good deal of energy on the 



WAR COURSES 491 

part of the instructor. A man 'whose brain or voice is 
tired or who has come to the end of his daily supply of 
energy cannot impress his audience with the truth and 
reality of his teaching. He has not only to repeat a 
certain number of words in order to convey instruction ; 
it is necessary for him to make use of a curious telepathic 
power well known to lecturers and orators, by which alone 
he can impose his teaching upon his audience. This 
peculiar power is a much more common attribute of the 
human race than is generally supposed — in fact, it appears 
to be possessed by every one who is a master of his subject 
and who believes in the fundamental truth of what he is 
trying to teach. It is very easy for a man to say that he 
has not the gift of imparting instruction, but usually it 
means that he has not the necessary knowledge. 

We encounter great differences in the various instructors 
that we come across, both as regards their style of speaking 
and their method of dealing with the subject. We have, 
in one scheme, what we may describe as the taciturn 
instructor, who says very little, but whose every word is 
well worth listening to, and who delivei*s a concentrated 
essence of the subject ; and, on the other hand, we have 
the ^fluent and perhaps even garrulous instructor, whose 
gems of learning are somewhat obscured by a mass of 
words. In the one case there is too much whisky and in 
the other too much soda water for the really palatable 
and refreshing beverage of science. A happy medium 
between the two appears to be the object of our aspira- 
tions. 

In any case, this power of imparting instruction de- 
creases very rapidly when the brain or the body is tilled ; 
the available supply of energy is used up, and without it 
little can be done. 

The method of conducting the War Course is very simple, 
and much the same as that described for a Regimental 



492 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Tour, except that the scheme of operations is not as a 
rule continuous. 

An area is selected similar to that suggested for a Regi- 
mental Tour, where the ground is fairly enclosed, where 
there are many small tactical points, but where there is 
sufficient view for artillery to afford infantry adequate 
support. The ground should be close to the place where 
the officers are accommodated for the course, or else be 
within easy reach by rail, with suitable trains in the 
morning and afternoon. The officers assemble on Sunday 
night, and the course begins by a lecture on camps, billets, 
and bivouacs at 9.S0 a.m. on Monday. 

The director then takes the officer on to the ground 
and issues a situation which demands the billeting of a 
small force in one or two villages and adjacent farms. 
The scheme is necessary, partly because the direction of 
the advance of the force must be known, but chiefly because 
it will be necessary to arrange for the troops to get out 
of their billets into the fighting position in case they are 
attacked. All the details of billeting would be thoroughly 
studied on the ground ; the feeding and watering of the 
men and horses, the traffic on the adjacent roads and in the 
villages, policing, communication, sanitation, rapid trans- 
mission of orders, and many other matters of a similar 
nature would require attention. The whole of these 
details would be worked out by the director from house 
to house or farm to farm ; the officers under instruction 
would ask for reasons when they did not appreciate a 
statenient, or for further elucidation of any ambiguous 
matter. They would be invited to make suggestions and 
to try and improve on the methods adopted by the director. 
Every opportunity should be taken to encourage discussion 
on any important point, the object of the exercise being 
twofold : first, to instruct the officers themselves, so that 
it they marched into such a village in war they would know 



WAR COURSES 493 

all the difficulties which would be likely to arise and how 
to overcome them ; and secondly, to teach them how to 
instruct their own junior officers or senior non-commissioned 
officers. 

When this exercise is completed the director can work 
out the details of a bivouac on the ground in a similar 
manner. About four or five hours on the ground is quite 
long enough to devote to the two exercises. During this 
time the officers will be making notes, and when they 
return to the hotel or camp in the afternoon these notes 
can be amplified whilst the subject and the ground are 
still fresh in their memories. 

There will be no more work for the officers till the con- 
ference, which will be held by the director in the evening. 
On return to the hotel the director with his general staff 
officer should prepare notes for the evening conference, re- 
capitulating all important points that had been discussed 
on the ground, and paying particular attention to the 
application of the principles laid down in the official 
books on training to the situation worked out during the 
day. 

The training book says we should aim at doing a certain 
thing or adopting a certain course of action, but in the 
situation we studied on the ground perhaps we were unable 
to apply this principle ; if so the reason should be thoroughly 
grasped, and probably in the end we shall find that we 
failed to apply the principle because we did not set about 
it in the right way. 

In this manner the official training books can be made 
to be of perpetual service to officers when learning their 
profession, and consequently the principles they inculcate 
will be applied in war with far more certainty than if they 
were learnt by heart merely by studying the book. 

The following programme of lectures and subjects for 
studying on the ground has been found to be suitable : 



494 STAFF RIDES AND REGIMENTAL TOURS 

Monday. Bivouacs, billets, and camps. 

Tuesday. Outposts. 

Wednesday. Attack. 

Thursday. Defence. 

Friday. Advanced and rear guards. 

Satuixlay (morning only). A lecture on night opera- 
tions and some concluding remarks by the director. 

ITiese subjects can, of course, be varied to suit the class 
of instruction it is intended to impart; it should be 
remembered, however, that only those subjects should be 
dealt with which can be studied on the ground. A scheme 
and a series of situations should be prepared for each day's 
work, in the manner suggested in Chapter XX. for a 
" one day ^ tactical exercise on the gi'ound. The scheme 
for the next day should be issued after the conference 
each evening, and the various situations issued on the 
ground. If possible a continuous scheme should be pre- 
pared, as it is easier for the officers to follow the opera- 
tions, but the important thing is to make the best use of 
the ground which is available in the vicinity, and it will 
be found, as a rule, that fresh schemes must be prepared 
each day. 

The lectures each morning can be based on Combined 
Training or some other official manual which deals with 
the particular subject. Combined Training is essentially 
a book containing general principles, and there is plenty 
of material for an instructive lecture in a few pages of the 
book. The principles laid down can be amplified, the 
method of their application explained, and some of the 
difficulties which usually arise during their application 
can be indicated, discussed, and methods for overcoming 
them suggested. These lectures should be prepared 
beforehand, and every effbi-tmade to illustrate the various 
principles by reference to success or failure in past cam- 
paigns. 



WAR COURSES 495 

The work on the ground is carried out in precisely the 
same manner as suggested in Chapter XVIII., except that, 
as ah-eady indicated, instead of the officers being asked to 
solve the various problems, the latter are dealt with by 
the director or his general staff* officer, who will suggest 
the various courses' open to the commander, and discuss 
any alternative courses which the officers under instruction 
should be encouraged to bring forward. 

The fact that the director knows what the enemy is 
going to do does not seriously detract from the instruc- 
tion imparted — in fact, if he prefers it, the director can 
easily create situations where he does not know what the 
enemy will do. It will be remembered that the only 
object of writing down beforehand a description of the 
intentions and actions of the enemy was to safeguard the 
officers who were working out the problem, so that the 
director should not be tempted to defeat them by making 
the enemy^s action checkmate any plan that was put 
forward. In the case before us the director or his staff 
officer is working out the problem, and not the officers, 
so the latter can be left to bring forward possible courses 
which the enemy may adopt, and which would seriously 
embanass the plans recommended by the dii'ector. This 
they will do with great satisfaction. 



t^rinted by BallanI-ynb &• Co. Limited 
Taivi&tock Street, Covent GardeOi London 





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